Sheffield Wednesday’s recent fortunes have only emphasised their reliance on top goalscorer Steven Fletcher, and with him expected on the sidelines for the foreseeable future, their struggles may get worse before they get better.
The 32-year-old went down injured and was subsequently stretchered off during their FA Cup victory over Brighton earlier this month.
His 12 league goals this campaign have been imperative to the Owls floating in and around the playoffs as the next best in the squad is a mere three goals from four players, per WhoScored.
Their hunt to add a striker this month has proven to be rather tricky.
Eddie Nketiah was on the radar following his recall from Leeds, but new boss Mikel Arteta was impressed enough to keep him around for the rest of the season; Rhian Brewster opted to link up with his former international youth coach; Connor Wickham’s £60k-per-week wages (Spotrac) are proving to be a stumbling block too.
The long-serving Owl was binned off in the summer by ex-manager Steve Bruce before he eventually departed for his current job at Newcastle United, and in hindsight, what a terrible decision that appears to be.
Monk has been through the wringer in trying to find a viable solution in the absence of Fletcher.
Jordan Rhodes got his chance, scored a hat-trick and then became anonymous, failing to score since. Sam Winnall has the solitary goal in the league while Atdhe Nuhiu is merely used as a battering ram to torment opposition defenders.
“He makes a run from the halfway line on the left hand side. I watched it and I showed our players it. He just has a desire to run and run and just get on the end of a cross. You can’t buy that, you can’t teach that”
Ally McCoist, former Rangers manager.
His record of 31 goals in 89 appearances at Hillsborough is pretty good going too.
Hooper also thrived in a system at Celtic alongside Anthony Stokes, where he netted 82 times in just 138 matches, and utilising two up top is something that Monk tried to do before Fletcher’s injury. He would have been the perfect partner.
“It was a one-two with Stokes and I used to watch him do that in training every day – he’s just a top-class finisher and he can create goals out of nothing.”
Michael O’Connor, former Scunthorpe United teammate.
If the 31-year-old was still around, then there’s an argument to be made that they wouldn’t have been suffering as bad as this during the January transfer window.
That’s on Bruce for making such a premature decision, especially as he left less than a month later.