Sheffield Wednesday have been handed a blow as Jamie Smith confirmed that Tom Lees is set to miss the Owls’ crucial Championship fixture this afternoon.
According to the Owls assistant manager, the defender will not feature in either of the club’s must-win games against Nottingham Forest and Derby County after he was stretchered off in the 3-1 defeat against Middlesbrough last weekend.
As cited by the club’s official website, Smith said: “Tom Lees will miss the game, as well as the final day. There was no fracture in his leg but he does have ligament damage, unfortunately.”
So far this season, Lees has proven a crucial part of the Wednesday backline, with the defender starting 38 Championship fixtures. In those games, he has helped his side to keep nine clean sheets, as well as making an average of 1.8 interceptions, 1.2 tackles and 5.4 clearances per game, culminating in an average SofaScore match rating of 6.88 – ranking him as the Owls’ third-best performer in the division.
As such, that the 30-year-old will not be available for the fixture against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, as well as the potentially seismic final day clash with relegation rivals Derby County next week, is likely to come as gutting news for both Darren Moore and Smith, as it is essential that Wednesday win both fixtures to have any chance of retaining their Championship status for another year, with a four-point gap to make up on the 21st-placed Rams.
While the task of survival already appeared a very difficult feat to pull off, being without a key defender in Leeds has made the challenge that extra bit harder for Wednesday.