Three reasons Sheffield Wednesday will be promoted and three reasons they won't

Sheffield Wednesday

It's 16 years since the Owls last played in the Premier League.

The Championship returns this weekend and for teams like Sheffield Wednesday, this is the home straight. The Owls have enjoyed a splendid campaign so far and sit comfortably inside the top six with eight games remaining. But will they begin next season in the Premier League?

Here are three reasons they will...

Form - The Owls may have started slow, but since adding Gary Hooper to their squad in late October only two teams, Burnley and Middlesbrough, have accrued more points (42).

Experience - Wednesday’s foreign influx was questioned by many, but on reflection their business appears shrewd. Of their regular eleven, Ross Wallace, Barry Bannan, Daniel Pudil, Fernando Forestieri and Hooper have all been promoted previously from the Championship.

The run-in - Of the Owls' eight remaining league matches, half are at home, where they've been bettered just twice all season. 12 may be enough to secure a place in the play-offs - especially with two of the chasing pack (Ipswich Town and Cardiff City) due visits to Hillsborough.

And here are three they won't...

It's too much, too soon - Wednesdayites were always hopeful of an improved campaign, but to be sixth at the start of April is beyond any realists' expectations. An almost entirely new squad - plus head coach Carlos Carvalhal - was cobbled together last summer, and arguably still has some growing to do. A spot of fine-tuning could leave them well-set for an assault on the top two next term, however.

Record against the best - The Owls haven’t beaten a single team above them this season and while they’ve only lost three of those encounters - Burnley and Middlesbrough (x 2) - such a record doesn't bode well should they get in the top six. That said, they won all three of their 2005 play-off matches despite failing to beat both Brentford and Hartlepool in the league.

If anything (else) happens to… Hooper, Forestieri or Bannan. The latter pair have both been suspended of late and though Wednesday beat Charlton in Bannan's absence last time out, they failed to win any of their three games without Forestieri. The emergency loan window closed last week so there's no going back.

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