This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Sheffield Wednesday must shake off their uncertain future when they return to Championship action this weekend.
The Owls face a tough trip to the Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion, and with the strong possibility of the club facing a points deduction sometime in the future, they must rack up as many positive results as possible.
Recent matches have seen a worrying trend emerge as Garry Monk’s side have rued their lack of late game management – had they not conceded so many goals in the dying stages, then they could well be sat much nearer their upcoming opposition.
The 40-year-old will be tasked with a selection dilemma across the pitch as many players will have used the time off during the international break to resolve any niggles and injuries.
In defence lies the biggest decision of all as Monk pretty much has all of his options available, including the unseen David Bates, who played for the U23s last week.
Last time out against Swansea City, captain Tom Lees made his return to the side after a lengthy spell on the sidelines, and it didn’t exactly go to plan as the Owls conceded two goals and only managed to garner a solitary point despite taking the lead in the 91st minute.
He replaced Julian Borner, who was only absent through a virus, meaning he should certainly be back to play this weekend.
This will leave Monk with a problem as it is likely to be his captain versus August’s Player of the Month for one of the two spots at centre-half with Dominic Iorfa claiming the other.
The Wednesday chief must revert back to his tried and tested defence, the one that had kept four clean sheets in nine league matches.
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He may be torn between being loyal to both players, but in their current circumstances, it would make sense to opt for what has been proven to work.
Borner averages more clearances (4.4), interceptions (1.5) and tackles (1) per game than Lees, via WhoScored, while he also ranks as their second-best player with an average rating of 7.15.
If he wasn’t their captain, then this decision would be a no-brainer based on those figures alone.