Owls second string succeed but boss says squad still under strength

Owls Giles Coke
Owls Giles Coke
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WEDNESDAY kept a clean sheet against Championship club Blackpool and knocked them out of the Carling Cup with a mostly second-string line-up - but manager Gary Megson believes that the tie showed the Owls’ shortage of strength in depth rather than evidence that they have a powerful squad.

He was “really pleased” with the effort shown and with several individual performances but he had to use various players out of position in order to get by without risking first-teamers less than 48 hours before today’s match at Bournemouth.

So the search for new signings goes on, even after loan forward Danny Uchechi and midfield player Chris Lines became the seventh and eight signings of the summer.

He explained: “The game showed that we haven’t got strength in depth, to be perfectly honest.

“It showed we have a great mentality, commitment and workrate. But we have to get the squad strong.

“If anything happens to Lewis Buxton, we can put Semi [Jon Otsemobor] in there. There are one or two positions where that situation doesn’t really exist. Changing that is the task facing the club. We have to keep improving all the time, no matter how the results are going.”

During the course of Thursday’s tie, Reda Johnson played at centre half and centre forward; Otsemobor at right back, right-side midfield and centre back; debut-maker Cecil Nyoni in central and left-side midfield; home debutant Matt Tumilty at right back and right-side midfield; and Liam Palmer in midfield and at right back.

Megson also highlights the positives: “That was the first full game that Giles Coke has had in months and months, and he got through it.

“For Cecil Nyoni it was a first and difficult start, because this is big boys’ stuff; I was really pleased with his performance and with Matt Tumilty when he went on.

“Jon Otsemobor looked really good. Reda Johnson caused them problems when he went up front.

“The mentality of the players is starting to change. Hopefully we can keep improving from this point.

“Sometimes when we got into really good areas we chose the wrong pass or rushed it. With the final ball into the box, we didn’t have the quality for which we would hope.”

The Owls boss also says that he would rather have a strong first team and problems filling gaps when first-teamers do not play than be able to field two “average” sides.