Sheffield Wednesday have had to deal with a host of long term injuries over the past few seasons with Gary Hooper, Sam Winnall and Kieran Lee all enduring lengthy absences.
But having nursed the first two players back, the club now finds themselves sweating over the fitness of Rolando Aarons and Steven Fletcher, who both missed the 0-0 draw with Stoke last time out.
Aarons was initially in the starting XI but had to pull out with an ankle problem. The Newcastle loanee was severely missed in attack as the Owls failed to ever really get going.
Injuries have played a massive part in Wednesday’s season and again it made life tough for them against Nathan Jones’ side.
The main issue was a lack of pace and penetration going forward – something they considerably lack without Aarons.
George Boyd acted as his replacement but, despite a steady performance, wasn’t as lively as the club’s usual starter on the left-hand side.
If Aarons is to miss out again this weekend then Steve Bruce has to make a change from his previous starting XI.
Fernando Forestieri, who has scored four goals so far this season, can help provide the spark they need in attack. The Argentine started as a striker at the weekend but Bruce needs to play him out on the left, a role he’s occasionally operated in during his career.
With Aarons potentially missing, he is the only player similar to him in the squad. He’s a tricky player who can get at his man and, rather than being isolated against two centre backs, would find life far more enjoyable if he got to run at a full back.
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With Hooper and Winnall now fit, Bruce has license to change things a little, allowing him to move Forestieri back out wide whilst not denting their goal threat.
The match with Villa this weekend is massive with both sides in the hunt for a play-off place and this could be Wednesday’s best route to victory if Aarons is still out.