Dom Howson’s Sheffield Wednesday column: Why Owls should consider trimming their forward line

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Quality costs and Wednesday have spent a considerable amount of money on assembling arguably the Championship’s most fearsome attack.

But with less than three weeks to go until the transfer window shuts, the Owls’ squad remains bloated and unbalanced.

Wednesday are top heavy with strikers and short on centre-back options.

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With Fernando Forestieri having made it clear he prefers to play down the middle rather than out wide, Wednesday essentially have seven senior players for two positions.

It is impossible for boss Carlos Carvalhal to fit them all in and it must be a thankless task trying to keep everybody happy. Sam Winnall must be wondering when he will ever get a chance to prove his worth.

Ex-England manager Steve McClaren conceded he wouldn’t like to be in Carvalhal’s position.

Speaking back in April, McClaren said: “I would hate it as a manager to have five strikers and they are all quality. It is very difficult. It provides inconsistency in the team.”

Signing a defender features at the top of the Owls’ wish-list but Carvalhal should consider reducing the size of his forward line before the end of August. Allowing Atdhe Nuhiu or Lucas Joao to leave, for example, could free up some funds to let Carvalhal reshape his team in areas where they lack strength in depth.

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Having a plethora of striking options is all very well and good but the supply line has to be up to scratch for them to thrive. And it wasn’t against Preston North End. I lost count of how many aimless long balls were lumped up to Jordan Rhodes. Strikers can only win or save you a match if the defence and midfield provide them with plenty of ammunition. Rhodes and Forestieri had nothing to work with at Deepdale.

Steven Fletcher and Gary Hooper fared far better against Chesterfield as Wednesday successfully played a midfield diamond, with David Jones at the base, Ross Wallace and Barry Bannan on the sides and Almen Abdi at the tip. There was more cohesion and fluency to the Owls’ approach play and the attackers received adequate service from the flanks. They showed positive intent from the off.

Will Fletcher and Hooper keep their places for tomorrow’s Hillsborough showdown with Queens Park Rangers? Could Carvalhal revert back to the Forestieri and Rhodes partnership? Or maybe he will try another combination? Another tough selection call beckons.

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