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…
The October international break has had both benefits and drawbacks for Sheffield Wednesday.
Coming into it last week on the back of a 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic, manager Garry Monk potentially would have wanted his side to ride the momentum with games thick and fast, especially after picking up ten points from a possible 15 since taking over last month, but that hasn’t been the case.
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On the other hand, it gives the 40-year-old more time to engrain his playing style into the squad he’s inherited from former boss Steve Bruce and caretaker manager Lee Bullen.
That time without a match could be vital in getting his message across on the training pitch – it also means players are able to recuperate from injury fully.
Which is very much the case for Owls skipper Tom Lees, who is yet to feature under his new boss as he has faced a spell on the sidelines through hamstring troubles.
Prior to the Wigan match, Monk said this about his captain:
? GM: We probably won’t risk Tom Lees for this game and look to bring him back after the break. He is on the training pitch and progressing well #swfcLIVE
— Sheffield Wednesday (@swfc) October 3, 2019
It remains to be seen what he means by that, whether Lees will have to build some match fitness for the youth team or if he comes straight back into the matchday squad.
If it’s indeed the latter, then Dominic Iorfa is at risk of losing his starting place despite proving to be a more than worthy option in his absence – his performance against Middlesbrough was a particular stand out as he managed to score one of Wednesday’s four goals.
The 24-year-old has kept two clean sheets in five matches, while winning a total of 16 aerial duels and recording 11 tackles, per WhoScored.
Therefore, Iorfa would be a really unfortunate victim as if Lees is not the captain of the side, it’s unlikely that we’re talking about him even returning to the starting line up.
That’s how well the 6 foot 4 defender has played.