Sheffield Wednesday’s season has recently taken a devastating blow following an injury to one of their key players, but it has hinted towards a much wider issue that will hit manager Garry Monk later this summer.
Owls top goalscorer Steven Fletcher was ruled out for up to ten weeks with a knee injury after being stretched off in their FA Cup victory over Premier League outfit Brighton and Hove Albion.
The 32-year-old is a key part of Monk’s squad as no player can rival his goal tally of 12 for the season or his ability to win aerial duels, averaging 6.4 per game – next best is three goals from a quartet of players while the only forward that can equal his presence in the air is the 6 foot 5 Atdhe Nuhiu (4.9).
Monk has confirmed to the press that he ideally would like to see a striker in at the earliest opportunity whilst he has also claimed they’re currently focused on the loan market. This would suggest that it’s a short-term fix in mind, but that may be a terrible route to take.
There’s no denying that the veteran forward is imperative to the Owls’ successes as they score more goals with him in the side, averaging 1.5 goals per 90 compared to just 1.1 whilst he is missing, but he’s not going to be around forever and as things stand, he could even leave in the summer.
It remains to be seen if that’s the case but it would be wise to start planning for life without him, especially as they are already too reliant on his services.
A solution is certainly needed if they are to mount a serious playoff challenge but they can kill two birds with one stone by finding his successor sooner rather than later.
It may mean that owner Dejphon Chansiri has to back his man rather than settling for a short-term loan option, as it’s going to benefit the club over the next few seasons – not just now.