Date:Tuesday April 4 2006
Five games to go - six points clear. Many Owls fans will be sweating over the future of the club's Championship status, but think about those who are trying to make up the six-point margin - our fate is firmly within our own hands unlike the last time we were in this position, and Brighton, Millwall, and Crewe all seem to have given up hope.
It must have been music to the ears of Paul Sturrock then, after Brighton boss Mark McGhee seemed to give up hope on staying up this season, despite their surprising 2-0 win away at rivals Millwall on Saturday. Only their second away win of the season brought them to within touching distance of Millwall, but McGhee thinks it's all too late.
He said: 'We still have Sheffield Wednesday to play but it's probably too late, which is a great shame. Had Southampton not won - and we both have to play them - we might have had a chance of dragging them into it, but it wasn't to be. But all we can do is battle on, like we have done all season.'
Brighton, of course, still have the Owls to play at the Withdean on Easter Monday, but McGhee apparently thinks it will be all but over at this stage - an opinion that most Wednesday fans will gladly agree with. It was Brighton who summoned the Owls to relegation on Easter Monday the last time they were in this division, and I'm sure Wednesday fans would enjoy some kind of revenge mission.
It's not just Brighton who are looking towards the drop - the Owls' nearest rivals Millwall fell further behind Wednesday at the weekend, and boss Dave Tuttle is fearing for his job should the Lions drop down to League One.
Tuttle described the performance against Brighton as the worst he'd seen since he'd been in charge of the club, and admits that should the club be relegation, he should be sacked.
He said: 'I'm here until the end of the season and if we get relegated I will deserve the sack. It's as simple as that. 'I'd love to carry on, I've enjoyed being a manager, and when I took over everyone thought we were down anyway. But if we go down, I will deserve to be sacked.'
So both Millwall and Brighton look resigned to the drop, but what of Wednesday's other, relatively smaller rivals in Crewe? Alex were well and truly out of the running a few weeks back, but an impressive string of results including an away win at QPR and a home drubbing of Coventry City have seen them back in contention.
The Owls travel to Gresty Road this weekend in a match which could be pivotal to both clubs this season. Alex boss Dario Gradi hasn't given up hope yet, despite the Railway men still needing to win three more matches than the Owls.
Gradi told the Crewe Sentinal: 'It will be a miracle, but miracles do happen,'. Obviously the players get browned off losing games and this will be a boost for them as they have been a bit unlucky in some.'
'If we got 12 points from the remaining five games it would make it very interesting. If we lost two it would be beyond us. But it would be nice to win next week against Sheffield Wednesday, that would be a real one to win and pin them back if we can.'
So it seems good news then, to Wednesday fans, that our relegation rivals have all but admitted defeat in the battle against relegation. I wouldn't be rushing down to the bookies just yet though, as there are bound to be a few twists and turns around the corner yet...
Date:Tuesday April 4 2006
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