Sheffield Wednesday have a lot to play for before they know which division they’ll be competing in next season but that shouldn’t stop them from making a decision over the future of one of their key players.
As of now, the Owls seem destined for relegation to League One – with nine games left to play, Darren Moore’s side find themselves six points adrift of safety, although they do hold a game in hand on most teams around them.
A run of one win in nine games is hardly encouraging for their chances of remaining in the Championship, either.
Long-serving veteran Keiren Westwood is one of at least 12 first team players who are out of contract in the summer. The 36-year-old has been at Hillsborough since 2014, when signing from Sunderland on a free transfer.
To say that his time in south Yorkshire was a little ropey would be an understatement. He was the first choice between the sticks for the Owls’ back-to-back playoff runs under Carlos Carvalhal, but was exiled during the Garry Monk era.
It is only recently that he’s resurfaced as Wednesday’s main man between the sticks. It is his sort of influence on which Moore will need to lean, not just in the coming weeks but also into next season – especially if they go down to League One.
In addition to that, Westwood is clearly a fan of the new Owls boss and hasn’t ruled out remaining at Wednesday for an eighth straight season. Speaking to reporters, via Yorkshire Post, he said:
“I think the gaffer is the man for the job. From what I have seen and what he has spoken to me about and said to the lads and the way he wants to do things, 100 per cent,” before adding: “Listen, I have loved it here, I really have and I am not saying it is something I wouldn’t consider (it) because I really would, 100 per cent. Of course I would. I have been here ages.”
Westwood has made the League One ‘Team of the Year’ before, so clearly knows a thing or two about the division. Also, as noted by Yorkshire Live’s Dom Howson, he offers an ‘authoritative presence’ between the sticks.
Writing after an unlucky defeat to league-leading Norwich, the Owls reporter said: ‘Westwood more than justified his selection. The experienced shot-stopper constantly organised his defence and bellowed out instructions to his team-mates.’
Having that sort of presence right at the back will be needed, so forget Tom Lees, Adam Reach and many more for now – Westwood should be Wednesday’s top priority this summer.
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