Sheffield Wednesday: Owls duo battle it out

Defender Miguel Llera
Defender Miguel Llera
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There is a guide as to who will fill the vacancy in the centre of Sheffield Wednesday’s defence when they resume activities on Saturday against Yeovil at Hillsborough.

Unless, of course, Owls boss Dave Jones tears up the guide or decides that a recent little clue really shouldn’t be seen as a pointer at all.

Wednesday are resigned to being without Anthony Gardner for at least five months after tearing his achilles tendon in the club’s last game at Middlesbrough, a serious injury which will require surgery for the central defender who will be 33 a week on Thursday.

When Gardner was stretchered off, it was Miguel Llera who got the nod to replace him. It was his first appearance of the season. Which is one more than the other defender occupying a seat on the subs’ bench, Martin Taylor.

So, that may be a small clue as to the Jones’ line of thinking when he pins up the starting XI for the Yeovil game.

As for the guide as to who might get the nod, it was the Spaniard who did so last season.

What’s more, for virtually all last season it was Llera who was the first choice alongside Gardner even though Taylor had been a summer signing and was expected to be first choice.

Indeed, Llera - who was 34 this month - was an ever-present for the final 30 games of the season and, in fact, missed only five games all season.

Taylor, 34 in November, had rather a difficult start because his first five games coincided with Wednesday conceding 12 goals in those games (Llera playing in only the first of them).

It led to Taylor losing his place and Llera stepping in and being a first choice at centre back for the remaining seven months.

Although Taylor can play either side in centre defence, the left-sided Llera might be adjudged the more natural defender to accompany Kamil Zayatte who is on the right.

Then again, Dave Jones may decide that with the loan window re-opening, he may wish to look through it and see what’s on the other side and so both may stay on the bench or be themselves loaned out with Taylor the more likely.

But, judged on recent past, Llera appears the one to get the nod.

Meanwhile, no date has been fixed up for the home game with Wigan Athletic which should have been next Tuesday but Wigan start their Europa League campaign next week.

The clubs will wait for Wigan’s Capital One Cup run to end before getting round to fixing a date.