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With just under a quarter of the Championship season already finished.

Sheffield Wednesday sit in 9th place in the table and posses the best defensive record in the league.

Sheffield Wednesday: Underachieving or almost there?Yet one cannot help but think they are a club that is under achieving.

At the start of this season things looked rosy for the Yorkshire side as Azerbaijani businessman Hafiz Mammadov looked all but certain to secure his takeover of the club. They penned a new, financially significant, sponsorship deal with Azerbaijan: Land of Fire, a company which also lends its name to newly crowned La Liga Champions Atletico Madrid and newly promoted French Ligue 1 side RC Lens.

The Land of Fire brand is led by Mammadov which almost confirmed the takeover but it wasn’t to be. Mammadov was unable to complete a purchase of the club’s shares and owner Milan Mandaric saw the deal fall through. The sponsorship deal was independent of the takeover but the club are yet to see any money. Off the pitch the problems are far from solved in Sheffield and it looks as though they will be requiring a big money takeover if they wish to catapult themselves back where many would say they belong – the Premier League.

It’s not as though the club isn’t a well supported one. Sheffield Wednesday currently boast the sixth highest average attendance in the Championship and see over 22,000 fans through their turnstiles each week. It is a club with a rich history and passionate fans, all of the ingredients a potential buyer would look for in a club.

Struggles off the pitch but are they struggling on the pitch?

Defensively no.

The Owls have conceded a league low eight goals in their 11 league matches so far a tally matched only by fifth placed Middlesbrough. Ironically five of the 16 goals conceded by these two clubs came in the match where they played each other. Wednesday running out 3-2 winners at the Riverside Stadium back in August. The Sheffield sides away campaign has been rather impressive, winning four of their first five and they remaining unbeaten until the narrow 2-1 defeat to Cardiff at the end of last month.

It’s up the other end of the pitch where Wednesday’s problems lie. They haven’t scored enough goals. They have drawn five games out of 11 played, including three at home. Some of the games were there for the taking but missed opportunities cost them two points, and in the case of the Nottingham Forest game, three points. 17 of the other 23 clubs in the Championship have scored more times than Sheffield Wednesday and unfortunately you can’t win a game without scoring a goal. There is promise in the forward department with Stevie May and Atdhe Nuhiu who each have three league goals apiece this season. Stevie May has recently received his first call-up to the Scotland squad and was an unused substitute in their 2-2 draw with Poland. The Owls will hope he used his first international experience to learn and he can turn it into more production.

The Owls could also call on Gary Madine, which they did last time out when he came on at half time against Leeds United. Madine who is still to make his mark in Championship football, made a positive impact on the game but as had happened all too often this season he missed his chance to win the game towards the end and a point was all Wednesday could take back to Hillsborough. Madine is still finding full match fitness however, having only played 163 minutes of football this season. If he can regain his sharpness he will add pressure to the starting pair of Nuhiu and May which may give manager Stuart Gray a selection headache, albeit not a bad problem to have.

If the Owls can begin to find the net on a more regular basis, starting this Saturday at home to third placed Watford, they can rely on Keiren Westwood and his back four to keep up their stellar form. A run of good results is all Wednesday need, they sit just four points from the summit of the Championship and have a squad very capable of challenging, at least for a play off spot. From there who knows? But a return to the top division has been a long time coming for Sheffield Wednesday.

Originally published at inthestandsport.com

Post written by Dan Rawlinson, Twitter: @Danrawly
for InTheStandSport, Blog: inthestandsport.com, Twitter: @InTheStandSport

Note: The views expressed within this blog post are those of the contributing author, and may not necessarily reflect those of MatchDayApp Limited, its representatives or associated partners.

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© sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk

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