Sheffield Wednesday’s chances of survival received a massive boost this week as they downed one of the Championship’s promotion hopefuls away from home.
Although there’s still a huge task for interim manager Neil Thompson and his coaching staff to complete as even though the Owls picked up a much-needed victory, they still remain three points adrift of safety.
And the 57-year-old has just been given a major hint towards how he can pull the south Yorkshiremen out of the mire.
The Owls took the lead against Bournemouth before the break through Callum Paterson, but the Scotsman went off just ten minutes into the second half with an injury.
In his place, on came rarely-seen Jordan Rhodes, who has become somewhat a forgotten man at Hillsborough over the past 18 months, having started only three league games this season, but he duly delivered.
The 30-year-old popped up with the crucial winner in the 90th minute and now Thompson must consider starting Rhodes more often.
Despite only playing 35 minutes, the Scotland international graded as the Owls’ second-best player with a SofaScore rating of 7.4. He indeed made his presence felt as, from just 18 touches, he scored once from three shots, managed a success rate of 100% in his dribbles, and won five duels.
Clearly, he was a handful throughout the second half, and he got his just desserts by pouncing on a defensive error in the game’s dying embers.
Wednesday failed to bolster their squad with a striker during the January transfer window, which perhaps was a strange move after Tony Pulis’ comments in December, he said:
“We’ve got five tens, and really not a centre-forward.”
That is the case for both Paterson and Josh Windass, but Sheff Wed have a proven and vastly-experienced goalscorer in this division in Rhodes. He just needs a run of games to get back to that level of form.
In over 300 appearances in the English second-flight, the veteran has delivered 110 goals. Strangely, the Owls let him go on loan to Norwich City in the 2018/19 campaign, and his six goals helped them towards promotion in the top-flight yet since his return, he’s just not been fancied.
His form that year led to Daniel Farke waxing lyrical over him. He dubbed the 6 foot 1 ace “the most special, unique guy I’ve worked with.”
Whilst Garry Monk once echoed those thoughts whilst at the helm, he said: “We all know he has that quality. He had to work his way into the squad, it’s hard work and the work we do on the training ground, doing that to a high level and showing a bit of personality.”
There isn’t a better time to see Rhodes back starting than now as Paterson is set for time on the sidelines. He could hold all the keys to Wednesday pulling themselves to safety.
As evident on Tuesday night, he’s a game-changer. He must be unleashed more often.
AND in other news, Exclusive: Palmer questions Sheffield Wednesday transfer decision…