Sheffield Wednesday’s decision to send Aden Flint back in January is now looking worse by the week.
The 31-year-old arrived at Hillsborough in the summer as one of Garry Monk’s eight signings, arriving alongside the likes of Jack Marriott and Izzy Brown on a season-long loan.
That was cut short at the start of January, presumably by Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri as Monk’s successor – Tony Pulis – was sacked a week prior to the decision.
The towering 6 foot 5 centre-back picked up a hamstring problem in only his fourth appearance for the south Yorkshire giants, and returned to parent club Cardiff City for treatment following surgery.
Flint has gone onto feature regularly for the Welsh outfit since the Bluebirds changed their own manager, replacing Neil Harris with Mick McCarthy.
The wily veteran was surprised by the decision to let the former Bristol City and Boro defender leave. He said, via The Star: “I’ve always really rated him as a centre-back and I was surprised to hear he had gone out of our club on loan. He’s been fantastic for me.”
He has started their last 14 matches in the Championship, coinciding with a phenomenal run of matches that has seen them lose just once – to promotion favourites Watford.
To make matters worse, new Wednesday boss Darren Moore has had an injury crisis, with 11 players on the treatment table, but it is a particular concern at centre-back.
Dominic Iorfa was ruled out for the season. Joost van Aken limped off with a groin problem before suffering a fresh setback for the U23s. Sam Hutchinson wasn’t risked against Barnsley. Liam Shaw picked up a knock and also missed the South Yorkshire derby. And Chey Dunkley has been absent with a long-standing hamstring issue.
That’s five viable central defensive options out. If Moore had the services of Flint, then perhaps it would have been a completely different story.
Instead, he’s helping propel Cardiff up the table all whilst the Owls continue to battle out a relegation dogfight.
Flint has been so key to McCarthy’s fortunes too – his 7.16 WhoScored rating is only bettered by two other players, and would sit comfortably atop Wednesday’s standings, with Callum Paterson scoring a 6.90 as their top goalscorer.
Chansiri made a massive mistake with Flint, and now Sheffield Wednesday are dealing with the consequences.