Sheffield Wednesday sparked plenty of headlines going into Tuesday night’s match yet still managed to pull through on top.
Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri sacked manager Tony Pulis less than 24 hours before kick-off at Hillsborough, whilst it’s thought that the squad haven’t been paid on time for November, let alone December.
Although despite this, they rallied under caretaker boss Neil Thompson to pick up a 2-1 victory against Neil Warnock and Middlesbrough in south Yorkshire.
Callum Paterson slotted home the opener right on the half-hour mark before 19-year-old Liam Shaw bagged his first Wednesday goal ten minutes later.
Boro managed to grab a goal back right after the break, but the home side found their nerve and held on for all three points – a vital victory which moved them to within three points of safety and off the bottom two places.
After the game, the teenage midfielder received most of the plaudits, but there was an underrated showing from one of his teammates that deserves a little more respect.
Once again, Chey Dunkley looked like one of Garry Monk’s only good signings in the heart of defence. A leader without the armband and a solid one at that.
The 28-year-old was a colossal rock at the back, recording six clearances, four interceptions, one tackle and one clearance, via SofaScore.
He also won 100% of his aerial duels, put in one block and ultimately, he ensured that prolific Championship marksman Britt Assombalonga endured a night to forget.
The Boro frontman lost 70% of his duels, fired two attempts off target and was given a paltry 6.3 rating, which was lower than any Owls player.
Dom Howson at YorkshireLive was also extremely impressed by Dunkley as he graded the former Wigan monster an 8/10, he wrote:
“Looked alert and dealt well with the threat of Middlesbrough captain Assombalonga. Has added some much-needed pace, physicality and leadership to the Owls’ rearguard since returning from injury.”
Indeed, Dunkley’s return and Wednesday’s three-game unbeaten run cannot be a mere coincidence. He must be someone any new manager centres his team around if they are to drag themselves out of the mire.
AND in other news, Pundit reveals what Josh Windass has told him about Sheffield Wednesday’s squad…