Sheffield Wednesday 2018/19
League Position: 12th (17/18 15th)
Average league attendance: 24,439 (25,995 in 17/18)
Top league goalscorer: Steven Fletcher (11)
There's plenty of optimism around Hillsborough as Steve Bruce prepares for his first pre-season in charge of Wednesday.
The experienced manager was appointed in early February following the dismissal of Jos Luhukay after a run of only one win and seven defeats in ten games, with the team sitting 18th in the table. Bruce made an immediate impact; Wednesday kept seven clean sheets in an 11-game unbeaten run to begin his tenure, closing to within two points of the top six at one stage.
Results tailed off towards the end of the campaign but Wednesday fans saw enough in those early weeks to raise expectations. Bruce has been heavily linked with a number of players in recent weeks, including former Bees Moses Odubajo and Jake Bidwell, as he looks to revitalise a club that hasn't been in the top flight since 2000.
Miles from Brentford: 169
Address: Hillsborough, Sheffield, S6 1SW
Next year will take Steve Bruce into a fifth decade in professional football after a stellar career as a player and a manager. Bruce started out at Gillingham but made his name as part of the Norwich City team that won promotion from Division Two in 1986 before finishing fifth in Division One the season after. While at Carrow Road he also won the League Cup in 1985 before moving to Manchester United in 1987. At Old Trafford, Bruce won three League titles, three FA Cups, three Charity Shields, a League Cup, the European Cup Winners' Cup and the Super Cup.
Bruce ended his career at Sheffield United before taking his first managerial role with The Blades. He lasted just a season at Bramall Lane and had short spells with Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic, and Crystal Palace before returning to another of his former clubs, Birmingham City. In six years at St Andrew's, he twice won promotion to the Premier League but left in October 2007 after a falling out with the board. He achieved mid-table Premier League finishes with both Wigan Athletic and Sunderland before moving to Hull City in 2012. He led Hull to promotion during his first season before keeping The Tigers up, and reaching the FA Cup final for the first-time in 2014. He wasn't able to achieve the same results the following year, leading to relegation, but The Tigers roared back, winning the Sky Bet Championship Play-Offs in 2016. Despite winning promotion, frustration at a lack of transfer activity at The KCOM Stadium, saw him depart a month later. He then had a two-year spell with Aston Villa, which included a trip to Wembley in the 2018 Sky Bet Championship Play-Off final, before taking over at Hillsborough this February.
The Key Man
Barry Bannan - 2018/19 41 appearances, 4 goals
In a side missing Fernando Forestieri for much of the season, Barry Bannan stepped up as The Owls creator in chief last term. The Scottish international netted four goals, including stunners against Millwall and Bristol City, and was fourth in the Championship assists chart with 11. Last season was Bannan's most-productive in the second tier and Bruce will be counting on his to carry over that form into the new campaign.
Head to Head
Brentford wins: 12
Sheffield Wednesday wins: 14
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