This article is part of Football FanCast’s In The Pipeline series, which takes a look at some of the most promising young talent either linked with clubs or emerging from their academies…
Sheffield Wednesday will be looking to get back on track with their promotion push when the international break comes to an end next week, and they can boost their chances by delving into the academy set up for an answer to one of their biggest problems.
Garry Monk’s side sit eighth in the league, three points outside of the playoff zone, having succumbed to the loss of points in back-to-back games.
Blackburn Rovers first came from behind to clinch a victory, then Swansea City salvaged a point in injury time just minutes after the Owls thought they had won it last time out.
One of the increasing problems facing the Wednesday chief is their frailty in front of goal.
Earlier in the season, it appeared as if the side had too much reliance on top goalscorer Steven Fletcher, but he’s been unable to find the net in six straight matches now, and a potential solution was found in Massimo Luongo, who netted twice in three games before he picked up an injury.
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This week, academy striker Omar Damba was called up to the Gambia U20 squad despite not yet featuring in a senior competitive game at the club.
Might he provide an answer?
The 20-year-old has only held a professional contract at the club for 11 months, but in the summer, he was handed an opportunity to train with the first-team, according to his Instagram post per Football League World.
Former Wednesday centre-back Rob Jones played a part in his move to Hillsborough as the youngster netted a hat-trick against their U23 squad when playing for the RIASA programme, which Jones runs.
Speaking about Damba, he said: “The sky is the limit for Omar. I believe that we have only scratched the surface of his potential. As time progresses in his new environment and his focus and drive remain the same, he will have a long and fruitful career ahead of him.”
Not one striker in the Owls ranks offers any kind of threat through pace and acceleration, bearing in mind the youngest striker is Sam Winnall, who turns 29 in the New Year.
The promising forward is well worth a chance alongside a presence like Steven Fletcher, and given the club are out of the Carabao Cup, the heightened risk could pay off in their quest for promotion in the league.
Monk will also be able to start eradicating the unwanted acclaim of being the ‘oldest’ squad in the division, per Transfermarkt.