Sheffield Wednesday v Portsmouth: Momentum key for Owls’ bid to reach Championship

A SHREWD observer of League One, Darren Moore does not disagree with the notion that the division is an even tougher proposition than last season.

Sunderland may have gone, but their replacement is another big name who are free from off-the-field issues in Derby County.

Grant McCann’s Peterborough United add to the roster and then there’s the under-achievers from 2021-22 such as Ipswich Town and Charlton Athletic.

Despite all that, Wednesday, to many, look the team to beat, given their recruitment of the likes of Michael Smith, Michael Ihiekwe and Will Vaulks.

Sheffield Wednesday boss Darren Moore Picture: Steve Ellis

With that comes pressure and Moore is not going to shy away from it. He couldn’t if he tried.

Moore, whose side start out against the team who visited Hillsborough for its last league fixture just 91 days ago, said: “You’re in the industry to win.

“I can’t control what people are saying. I am focused on what we are doing at the club.

“We are trying to keep the momentum going. My job is to remain focused and look to build momentum.”

KEY BUY: The capture of striker Michael Smith from Rotherham United could be key to the Owls' promotion hopes. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

On whether Wednesday are better equipped in terms of top-two credentials this time around, he continued: “I think so. There has been more consistency in terms of the build up and getting recruitment in early doors.

“I would have to say we look more at ease in terms of how pre-season has gone.”

The fact that Wednesday have done the bulk of their recruitment in good time to enable players to get assimilated into the squad and what Moore expects from them adds to the Owls manager’s sense of satisfaction going into his second full campaign at the club.

Not that Moore is quite finished yet in terms of his recruitment.

He added: “We knew the first part of the (last) season was stop-start. We tried to get our recruitment in as quick as we possibly could this summer.

“It is a matter now of trying to get that team to integrate and settle down quickly in a tough division.

“There were really small margins in terms of last season. We have identified those small margins and it is about trying to correct them. We feel we have done some good recruitment.

“I still feel there are one or two areas where we are a little bit short and I would like to strengthen them if possible. It is about crossing all the hurdles.”