Sheffield Wednesday’s potential survival showdown with Derby County would be bigger than Wembley play-off final

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY captain Barry Bannan believes that if the Owls take their survival fate down to a last-day decider at Derby County, it will be a bigger game than the club’s play-off final in May, 2016.

Second-from-bottom Wednesday will be relegated if they lose against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough tomorrow lunch-time or if fourth-from-bottom Derby – four points above the Owls with two Championship games remaining – win at Swansea in a 3pm kick-off.

But if Wednesday better Derby’s result, it would take things to a final-day showdown at Pride Park on May 8.

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Wednesday’s destiny is also potentially dependent on the results of Rotherham United, who are ahead of them on goal difference in the final relegation place and with a game in hand at Luton on Tuesday. The Millers welcome Blackburn tomorrow.

Barry Bannan of Sheffield Wednesday. (Picture: Steve Ellis)

Pinning his hopes on the club taking their destiny to a hugely significant last day, Bannan – who confirmed that he has no relegation clause in his contract – said: “I have been speaking to some of the boys about this and I spoke to Leesy (Tom Lees) two weeks ago and we said if it does go to the last game of the season, it is bigger than Wembley as you have more to lose.

“Wembley is a bonus really if you go up as you are getting things you have not had anyway, whereas now you are losing things.

“It affects everybody; including the staff down at the stadium. If we can get it down to next week, it is a much bigger game than Wembley.

“Listen, no-one wants to be in a relegation fight and you don’t play the game to be relegated. But if we do stay up and win the game, I will be celebrating like we have won the Champions League, to be honest.”

Walking off arm in arm Owls skipper Barry Bannan with Tom Lees (Picture: Steve Ellis)

Alongside Keiren Westwood and Sam Hutchinson, Bannan is likely to be the final surviving link on the pitch this weekend from the team who lost to Hull at Wembley almost five years ago.

A fourth in former captain Tom Lees is sidelined after being stretchered off with an ankle injury at Middlesbrough last week and could have played his last game for the club with the defender out of contract in June.

Bannan added: “He was in a bad, bad way and the first thing I thought about was that he was out of contract.

“Things like that just come into your head straightaway and I felt bad for him. I spoke to him to try and keep his head up, although it is hard because you are not in his position where he is injured and doesn’t know what will happen contractually.”

Owls duo of Tom Lees and Joey Pelupessy block out Bristol City's Famara Diedhiou (Picture: Steve Ellis)

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