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Sheffield Wednesday dealt Michael Ihiekwe injury blow

Sheffield Wednesday’s hopes of automatic promotion this season have taken a blow after it was confirmed that Michael Ihiekwe will miss a few months through injury.

The Owls have already lost influential centre-back Ben Heneghan to an ACL injury which has ruled him out for the rest of the season, and it seems as if Ihiekwe could now be sidelined until 2023.

The former Rotherham man was forced off in last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Derby County and Sheffield Star reporter Joe Crann provided an update on his injury after the game.

He said: “A bitter injury blow for SWFC as Michael Ihiekwe is ruled out ‘for a couple of months’ after sustaining knee ligament damage. No surgery required, but Wednesday don’t expect him back until early next year.”

Since making the move to Hillsborough during the summer, the 30-year-old centre-back has made 18 appearances in League One for Moore’s side, averaging a superb 6.97 rating from WhoScored for his performances.

This ranks him as the fifth-best performer at Hillsborough so far this campaign, which emphasises how important he has been to Moore, and it is undoubtedly a worrying blow that he will miss the busy Christmas period.

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Ihiekwe also has experience of promotion, as he featured in 42 third-tier games for Rotherham last season as they finished second in League One, earning a fantastic 7.22 rating from WhoScored for his performances, so losing him could certainly have a big impact on Sheffield Wednesday’s hopes of moving into the top two.

Crann was full of praise for the English defender, along with Reece James and Heneghan, after they produced a strong display in a 1-0 win against Port Vale earlier in the season.

He said: “Didn’t dare say anything while the game was still going, but Heneghan, Ihiekwe and James were tremendous for SWFC today. Monumental defensive performance.”

The Owls are certainly short on centre-back options now with Heneghan and Ihiekwe sidelined, and Moore will surely be considering a move for another defender in the January transfer window due to his worries in the position.

It is far from ideal that the 30-year-old is injured at such an important time of the season, and Owls fans will be hoping to see him back fit and on the pitch as soon as possible.