Sheffield Wednesday v Rotherham United - Darren Moore is banking on united approach to stay up

IT is almost exactly five years to the day since the most famous moment of a remarkable ‘Great Escape’ mission took place when these two Yorkshire rivals took the field at Hillsborough.

New Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore might be afforded a spot of hope in the process, even if the date of March 5, 2016 was an occasion which went down in Rotherham United folklore, while the Owls were quick to exit the pitch at the final whistle after a 1-0 home defeat.

The previous month, Neil Warnock was handed a 16-match survival brief when he arrived in Rotherham, with the club ensconced in the relegation zone.

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Moore has two games fewer to perform his own act of Championship escapology, with Wednesday’s current predicament in the bottom three even worse than the Millers was back in 2016.

Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore: Relishing challenge. Picture: SWFC
Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore: Relishing challenge. Picture: SWFC

Gifted in the art of man-management, Warnock quickly got everyone on board at Rotherham and they soon set sail.

Moore’s football methods may differ from Warnock, but like the managerial veteran, he must now bring people together and be a dealer in hope. The best generals are, as Napoleon once said.

Instead of focusing on his new club’s second-half implosion at Luton on Saturday, when they let in three goals en route to an unfathomable 3-2 defeat, Moore has concentrated on the good which took place in the first half in a bid to pick up the squad of players he has inherited and not kick them when they are down.

That was where he spied genuine hope, in his view.

Moore, speaking ahead of tonight’s game with the Millers, said: “I watched back the (Luton) game and there were some wonderful points to pick up.

“I have alluded to the players in terms of how well they did on Saturday. The second half was just sheer lapses of concentration which put the game in doubt. But I saw some wonderful moments in the first half and some excellent play and good football.

“I have looked at areas where we need to be better going forward in the games coming up and we will work on those aspects.

“There is a lot of work to be done in terms of in and out of possession and we will go about doing that. There is no formula, but the more time we can get on the training ground, we can implement some good work into the players.

“I look at the group and it is a talented one. I am looking to lend my support, understanding and guile to them as a group..Let’s get going and it is time to work, that is my message. I am at my most happiest when I am working alongside them, side by side.”

Courteous and respectful in his utterances to countless questions at his introductory press conference – and proud to convey just what being the club’s new manager means to him, Moore is indeed someone truly at home on the training ground, his domain.

It is where he excels and that time will be precious between now and May.

The first glimpses into the Moore style will arrive this evening. As someone who largely employed a 4-2-3-1 system at Doncaster, it will be interesting to see how he goes about things.

Style is one thing, but points is ultimately what it is all about. Belief levels in the project will instantly rise should Wednesday triumph tonight and it will ultimately not matter how they do it. After four straight losses, the Owls must break the cycle fast.

Moore said: “The message has been clear to the players, What’s gone has gone and it is what we do now and how we focus our minds now in terms of looking forward and come together and work hard and together as a group.

“We know it is a hard task with some difficult hurdles, but we can approach those hurdles together as one

“Let’s look forward to these final 14 games of the season and come together as one as a club and join forces and focus and look forward to them. It is a great challenge and that is why I am here.”

A victory over a direct relegation level in a derby fixture of immense importance tonight would secure instant kudos for Moore, whose arrival has been well received by the Owls fanbase.

His record at Doncaster and West Brom commands respect and his belief in pure football is something that will always go down well with Wednesdayities.

Now for the opening night and chance to make the first significant step in what he hopes will be the march to safety.

Moore added: “It (staying up) would be a huge achievement for the club and everyone connected with it. We all have our parts to play. It will take a joint, together approach to get this tremendous club going forward.

“Rotherham is a really big game for the supporters and community. We know the threats Rotherham carry, but we will plan, prepare and look forward to it.

“It is a shame the fans cannot witness it, but I am sure from the safety of everyone’s homes, they will be tuning into it.”

Last six games: Sheffield Wednesday WWLLLL; Rotherham WLLLLL.

Referee: D Bond (Lancashire).

Last time: Sheffield Wednesday 2 Rotherham 2, December 18, 2018; Championship.

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