The steel city season - Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday both serious promotion contenders

A general view of Hillsborough during the npower League One match between Sheffield Wednesday and Preston North End at Hillsborough Stadium on March 31, 2012 in Sheffield, England.

Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday currently sit in the top six of the Championship.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder acknowledges the fans after the The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round between Leicester City and Sheffield United at The King Power Stadium on February 16,...

According to Sky Bet, Sheffield Wednesday have a surprisingly long 15/2 odds of finishing above their rivals Sheffield United this season, despite being separated by just six points.

The Blades got the better of their rivals last term on their return to the Championship, winning 4-2 at Hillsborough and finishing the season 12 points clear of the Owls who ended up in a lowly 15th position.

But prior to last season, the Owls finished in the playoffs in successive seasons and over the past few years they have built up a talented squad of players with owner Dejphon Chansiri spending big.

Injuries to key players such as Barry Bannan, Fernando Forestieri and defender Tom Lees no doubt played a key part in their struggles, but now they are back and ready to make up for lost time.

 

It was no coincidence that the Owls’ form picked up towards the end of last term following the return to fitness of key players, and Jos Luhukay’s side took 20 points from their final ten games – automatic promotion form.

But the transfer embargo placed on the club in the summer meant they couldn’t strengthen in the summer, and another injury crisis, especially in defence, could leave them down to the bare bones again.

Sheffield United, meanwhile, are top of the Championship having won eight of their last ten games and their current form is the best in the league, with Chris Wilder’s men winning four straight games.

Jos Luhukay, Manager of Sheffield Wednesday looks on prior to the The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round between Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City at Hillsborough on February 17, 2018 in...

But is their current lofty position a real indication of their ability? And are they really that much more likely to finish above the Owls this season?

Afterall, the Blades have only played one of the Championship’s current top eight and five of their wins have been by a slender one-goal advantage - with three of those coming via extremely late winners. Sheffield Wednesday, on the other hand, have already faced four of the current top seven.

With greater challenges to come, starting with a trip to Derby County after the international break, more will be revealed about Sheffield United’s promotion aspirations while the Owls will look to continue their rise up the table somewhat under the radar.

A general view of Bramall Lane before the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield United and Brentford at Bramall Lane on August 5, 2017 in Sheffield, England.

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