Sheffield Wednesday will be looking to bounce back from defeat at the weekend when they head to west London to face promotion-chasing Brentford.
Neil Thompson’s men slipped back down to second-bottom in the Championship table following a 1-0 defeat to relegation rivals Birmingham City at Hillsborough on Saturday, and now they are cut three points adrift from safety.
Although getting a result at the Bees will be a tough ask, they will be boosted by the fact that the division’s free-scoring striker Ivan Toney (24 goals in 30 games) is set to miss the clash through injury.
The Owls need to find a source of goals themselves as they rank amongst the divisions lowest scorers, so it leaves the interim Thompson with plenty to ponder…
He handed the reins to Josh Windass, who started his first Wednesday outing in nearly a month, but it was a decision that failed to pay dividends as the Owls could not score against the Blues.
Speaking after the match, Thompson told reporters (via YorkshireLive):
“He showed a lot of energy and like any of the boys, I think he’ll get better with more games. But we want people to be firing as soon as they come in.”
And it is that last bit of information that is rather telling.
Undoubtedly, the “explosive” 27-year-old can be a big threat for the Owls on his day, having bagged three goals before his injury over the festive period, but there’s a desperate need for instant returns right now, which is why Thompson ought to turn back to Jordan Rhodes, who perhaps has been unfairly dropped in recent games.
Windass drew the lowest rating (6.5) of any attacker on the pitch at Hillsborough on Saturday afternoon and failed to even register a single shot before being hooked in the 75th minute – if you don’t shoot, you’re not going to score.
It’s that simple.
“You have got to score goals to win games,” added Thompson post-game.
Rhodes has scored twice in the Owls’ last five league outings, including a crucial last-minute winner at fellow promotion hopefuls Bournemouth.
It means he’s nearly matched Windass’ season total in a fraction of the matches and merely reinforces the fact that he was perhaps unjustly axed from the starting XI himself at the weekend.
Windass, who as Thompson says, needs a run of matches but likewise, the Owls cannot afford to wait around for him to get up to speed, so as brutal as a decision it would be, the former Wigan man must be axed against Brentford tomorrow night.
AND in other news, Exclusive: Carlton Palmer drops Sheffield Wednesday manager claim…