This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Sheffield Wednesday legend Mark Bright believes their local rivals could play a huge role in pushing the side to promotion this season, although their chances will ultimately come down to whether or not they receive a points deduction.
The Owls currently sit in eighth place, three points behind a playoff berth, but are likely to head into the New Year with so much uncertainty hanging over their head.
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Provided Garry Monk’s side steer clear of that for the time being, then they could well be in the promotion hunt for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, arch-rivals Sheffield United occupy a top-five place in the Premier League – times have certainly changed since Wednesday’s leading goalscorer in the top-flight downed the Blades in the FA Cup semi-final many moons ago.
Speaking to The Star, Bright believes that the attention surrounding their Sheffield neighbours will provide added motivation, he said:
“Do you know what? I think they could be close.
“The thing is, to watch the other side of the city doing what they’re doing, getting up before Wednesday, that hurts but all credit to them, they’ve been great and they play some good stuff. It will hurt that bit more.
“This could be Wednesday’s year.
“I left in 1996 and I’m still Sheffield Wednesday’s leading scorer in the Premier League. That just should not be the case. We’re 20 years on, that club has spent too long out of the top flight.”
There is no hiding that the Steel City derby is one of the fiercest outside the mainstream few. It has often led to crowd trouble in multiple previous meetings.
After the Owls were relegated from the Premier League back in 2000, the fixture had been a regular occurrence, but the Blades’ promotion last season means that the two won’t play each other in this campaign.
A bore draw was the outcome the last time they faced each other back in March.
However, their quest to return to the promised land for the first time in over two decades won’t just be centred around what their rivals are doing – it has been the ambition regardless of the division the two play in.
The current paths of both teams are only going to be used as bragging rights for supporters in Sheffield.