Sheffield Wednesday v Accrington Stanley: Jordan Storey intent on easing Wembley heartache by helping Owls soar

WHEN it comes to the play-offs, Sheffield Wednesday defender Jordan Storey has ‘unfinished business’.

The loanee was part of an Owls line-up who boosted their top-six claims and made a fair-sided statement in the process to their League One rivals by virtue of Saturday’s exhilarating 6-0 blitzing of sorry Cambridge United at Hillsborough.

Victory tonight against Accrington would see Wednesday, who have won nine of their last 12 league fixtures since losing at Shrewsbury Town in their first game of 2022, move into the play-off positions.

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On their current form, the Owls would take some shifting and they have not given up hope of gatecrashing the top-two either.

Only Sunderland, who Wednesday would leapfrog into the top-six with victory tonight, have taken more home points (41) than Wednesday (40), who would become the best performing home side if they also prevail against Stanley.

As it stands, the play-offs look the most likely route to providing an instant return to the Championship for Darren Moore’s side and for centre-half Storey, he is seeking redemption should Wednesday earn a ticket to the end-of-season lottery.

Back in 2017-18, the Somerset-born player was part of an Exeter City line-up who saw their League Two promotion hopes shattered at Wembley Stadium, the Grecians losing 3-1 to Coventry City in the play-off final in May 2018.

It was an unwanted case of deja vu for the Devon outfit, who had lost 2-1 to Blackpool in the play-off showpiece on the hallowed turf 12 months earlier.

Sheffield Wednesday's Jordan Storey battles with Doncaster Rovers' Josh Martin Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

On his own personal motivation, Storey said: “It was very disappointing for me to go all the way to the final (against Coventry) and lose.

“I don’t think there is anything worse in football, especially on the biggest stage. So I definitely have unfinished business and if we do get promoted via the play-offs, it will definitely be great for me to experience the other side.

“It was so disappointing personally. I got into the team in January or February and stayed in there and then we managed to go on a great run to get in the final.

“We were actually going for automatic, but lost one game (more) and I think that was the difference. Three teams went up automatically and another team just got away from us.

Exeter City's Jordan Storey in action for Exeter City, battling with Accrington Stanley's Billy Kee in April 2018 Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

“It was bitterly disappointing, especially as we got to the play-off finals the year before and lost.

“It would have been the icing on the cake really to get promoted. But it wasn’t meant to be.

“I just want to be on the right side of a final, if that’s the way we go this season.”

Storey has found sanctuary at Hillsborough following his move there from Preston in January after falling out of favour at Deepdale.

The 24-year-old only signed a new contract at North End last September to keep him at the club until at least 2025, but is open-minded about his long-term future and is loving life at Wednesday.

As someone who did the hard yards on the non-league circuit at the likes of Bideford, Tiverton and Dorchester, Storey certainly can appreciate how far he has come and it’s an invaluable experience that he wouldn’t have changed for anything.

He commented: “I think it set me up nicely to go to those non-league clubs where they have not got the facilities or quality of pitches and stadiums.

“It is definitely a great learning curve for any player going out to non-league.

“It was valuable for me and you appreciate things and learn so much – including the physical and dirty side of the game and it was beneficial for me to go out on loan early to these teams.”

Last six games: Sheffield Wednesday LWWWLW; Accrington WLLWLW.

Referee: R Joyce (Teesside).

Last time: The two sides have never previously met at Hillsborough.