Did Sheffield Wednesday have another motive in sending Lucas Joao specifically to Blackburn Rovers?

Okay, in light of what happened last night, we may be reading into this a little too much but stick with us.

Wednesday, 15th March 2017, 9:29 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:53 am
Lucas Joao with Marvin Emnes after scoring a late equaliser for Blackburn Rovers against parent club Sheffield Wednesday's promotion rivals Fulham last night. Picture: PA

When Lucas Joao left Sheffield Wednesday in the January transfer window it was seen as a good move for all parties. Blackburn Rovers, struggling near the bottom of the table needed another striker to try and pull them away, Wednesday needed to make a bit of room in the forward department with Jordan Rhodes coming in from Middlesbrough and the player himself needed games, having been seldom used this season by Carlos Carvalhal.

Joao didn't pull up any trees in the early stages at Ewood Park. The Portuguese came off the bench in the 2-1 defeat to Leeds United immediately after the transfer window closed and he then had to wait until the end of February for his next appearance, again off the bench, in Rovers' 1-1 draw with fellow relegation-battlers Burton Albion.

Blackburn Rovers players celebrate Lucas Joao's late equaliser against Fulham at Craven Cottage last night

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Then came yet another run out as a substitute and that's where we start to think that Sheffield Wednesday knew what they were doing all along.

Norwich City, when Joao moved, would have been seen as a threat to the Owls' play off place. That was, of course, until they had a wobble and were then sent crashing to a 5-1 defeat at Hillsborough.

Still, Joao helped to make sure there'd be no comeback when he popped up with his first goals for Rovers, a brace in a 2-2 draw at Carrow Road. Had Norwich not blown it a few weeks ago, those goals would have been all the more significant.

Not as much as last night's, though.

Blackburn Rovers players celebrate Lucas Joao's late equaliser against Fulham at Craven Cottage last night

With Wednesday having a little bit of a nervy time of their own, there was the possibility that Fulham could have leapfrogged Carvalhal's side into sixth place in the Championship table had they beaten Rovers at Craven Cottage.

And it looked like they were doing exactly that when Gohi Cyriac put the Cottagers 2-1 in front from the spot, with just a few minutes remaining.

However, four minutes into injury time, Wednesday's on-loan striker scored arguably his most important goal for the Owls when he popped up with a crucial equaliser which not only secured a vital point for his current side, but kept his parent club in the play off positions.

Now, we'll accept that it could all be a complete coincidence, but a look at Blackburn's upcoming fixtures and the couple just past makes you wonder if Wednesday had been thinking laterally when sending Joao to Blackburn specifically.

Next up for Rovers are Preston North End who, while outsiders for a top six place, still haven't been shifted from contention just yet.

Then it's Brighton, obvious contenders for promotion as they have been all season and following that it's Reading, another side with aspirations of a play-off place.

Suddenly, without even being at the club, Joao becomes a vital cog in Wednesday's promotion challenge.

Maybe we're giving Carvalhal and the deal-makers at Hillsborough too much credit but if they did have a sneaky look at the fixtures first and decided Joao could still be an asset while out on loan, then hat's off to them.

If they didn't and Joao goes on to score a few more in the next series of fixtures, then they might want to start claiming they knew what they were at all along.