Exclusive: Four leave Sheffield Wednesday in backroom shake-up

Sam Hutchinson is attended to by Sheffield Wednesday physio Paul Smith and club doctor Richard Higgins during the match against Barnsley
Sam Hutchinson is attended to by Sheffield Wednesday physio Paul Smith and club doctor Richard Higgins during the match against Barnsley
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Sheffield Wednesday have parted company with four of their backroom staff as part of a major summer shake-up.

Physios Paul Smith, Stephen Gilpin and David Henderson and first-team masseur Jake Tweedie have all left the Championship club. Club doctor Richard Higgins has been retained.

Owls skipper Tom Lees leaves the field injured......Pic Steve Ellis

Owls skipper Tom Lees leaves the field injured......Pic Steve Ellis

Head physio Smith departs after over eight years at Hillsborough.

Smith, the son of legendary Owls physio Alan, has previously worked at Rotherham United, Barnsley and Derby County.

Gilpin, a former Portsmouth youth team player, joined Wednesday on a permanent basis following a successful year as a physio intern while Henderson arrived last July.

The Star understands the relationship between head coach Carlos Carvalhal and the medical team was strained at times last term.

Gary Hooper suffered a hamstring injury against Fulham in November and never returned until April

Gary Hooper suffered a hamstring injury against Fulham in November and never returned until April

The Owls suffered a host of injuries during the 2016/17 season, with Tom Lees, Kieran Lee, Almen Abdi, Gary Hooper, Fernando Forestieri and Sam Hutchinson all missing big chunks of the campaign.

Midfield dynamo Lee, though, returned ahead of schedule after undergoing hip surgery and featured in Wednesday’s agonising play-off semi-final defeat to 
Huddersfield Town.

But Carvalhal clashed with the physios over the treatment of some players, including influential centre-back Tom Lees. Defender Lees sat-out nine matches over a six-week period in 2017 because of a knee problem.

Gary Hooper’s lengthy absence also left Carvalhal frustrated.

The striker spent two months on the sidelines with a hamstring injury and looked close to making a return in January - he was an unused substitute in the 2-1 defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion - only to have a further setback on his quad.

Hooper made his long-awaited comeback in April, playing a vital role in Wednesday securing a top-six finish for the second year running.

He led the line as the Owls claimed six wins on the bounce but the former Celtic forward played no part in their two legs with Huddersfield after suffering a fresh hamstring knock.

Carvalhal claimed injuries contributed to their inconsistent performances and results.

He said “It made our work more difficult when Kieran [Lee] was out for three months and Gary Hooper out for five months.

“We were without Tom Lees and Fernando Forestieri for a lot of time as well. It is more credit to our work because we achieved a play-off with all these circumstances.”

Wednesday declined to comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, George Hirst converted a first half penalty in England’s 2-1 win over Japan in the Toulon tournament yesterday. It is the striker’s fourth goal in three matches and his 40th in all competitions for club and country this season.