This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Sheffield Wednesday will be looking to refresh and regroup over the next week or so before they embark on the tough test of facing a trip to the league leaders after the international break.
The Owls currently sit in eighth place, three points behind a playoff berth, and eight points behind West Bromwich Albion at the Championship’s summit.
Garry Monk has been faced with a rough patch of matches in recent weeks as his side have thrown away potential points in three of their last five games.
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Most recently, Swansea City pegged the south Yorkshiremen back in injury time despite the home side thinking they had won it with Morgan Fox’s strike just minutes earlier.
Blackburn Rovers were able to come from behind to defeat the Owls at Ewood Park in the game before, so game management is clearly something that needs to be worked on.
That process will be now made all that easier as Barry Bannan will be around at Hillsborough, rather than lining up for Scotland against Cyprus and Kazakhstan in their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.
The 29-year-old was snubbed by national team manager Steve Clarke again, but Bannan doesn’t seem too fazed by it.
He said: “I shouldn’t be saying this, but I am probably quite happy not to be in, as I have a lot of niggles at the moment. I have never ruled it out and if I get picked, I get picked. If I don’t, I am happy playing for my club every week.”
Bannan recently was a shock omission from that Blackburn defeat, and his missing presence as vice-captain was clearly felt.
As such an influential member of the squad – he ranks joint-top for assists and top for key passes per game, via WhoScored – his presence on the training pitch over the next week will be a substantial help to Wednesday getting over their late blips in matches.
It also gives him a chance to fully recover from those little injuries he mentions, and a fully-fit Bannan is the best thing for Monk right now.
He has featured in 14 of their 16 matches in the second-tier this season.
The 27-time capped international hasn’t lined up in the blue kit of Scotland for two years now, so it remains to be seen if he will ever earn such a chance ever again.