Tom Lees admits losing Fernando Forestieri to suspension for a big chunk of their December programme is a “massive blow” to the Owls’ hopes of moving further up the table.
Forestieri will sit-out the next three fixtures following his red card in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Preston North End.
The striker, who broke the deadlock in the ninth minute, hitting his third goal in as many outings, was dismissed after tangling with Ben Pearson.
“Losing Fernando is a massive blow; he’s just come back into form,” defender Lees told The Star. “He’s a fantastic player. You see he can win games on his own.
“It will be a blow but the positive is we have a lot of good options up front.
“Bringing on Steven Fletcher (as a substitute) in the Championship is probably unheard of.
“I am a big fan of Lucas Joao, too, hopefully we can get him fit and firing on all cylandars. When he is fit, he is unplayable.”
Pearson was left incensed following off-the-ball incident and protested vehemently to the fourth official, who eventually raised his flag and consulted with referee Scott Duncan who issued a red card to Forestieri.
Lees said: “I didn’t see anything with Fernando. I just saw their players running towards the linesman complaining.
“It’s one of those things, if you give someone the opportunity to try and get you sent off, then they are probably within their rights to get you sent off.
“Any advantage a team get they will take.
“You can’t give them an opportunity.”
Despite Preston’s late rally, the Owls held on to seal back-to-back victories for the first time since September.
In a bizarre incident in added on time, Lilywhites strikers Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle were sent off for fighting with one another. Beckford reacting badly to Doyle’s failure to put him through on goal and instead pass to Marnick Vermijl as the visitors chased an equaliser.
“You can’t be throwing punches,” said Lees. “The ref has seen it and had to make a decision.
“I have only seen anything like that on TV; I remember Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer. But it probably helped us out a bit.”