FIVE things learned from Sheffield Wednesday's defeat to Rotherham United
SAM HUTCHINSON IS UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF WEDNESDAY'S KEY MEN
Given Fernando Forestieri's goal scoring contribution and undoubted individual quality, his absence was always going to be the most talked about. But Wednesday arguably missed another of their absentees even more on Saturday.
Sam Hutchinson - rested with Tuesday's trip to Brighton in mind - left a considerable hole in the Wednesday midfield.
His physicality would have without question provided some much needed steel, particularly in the first half when Wednesday's midfield were bullied out of the game by their Rotherham counterparts.
But his work with the ball was missed even more. Hutchinson will drop incredibly deep to collect the ball from the back four and start attacks from well inside his own half. This work allows a few moments for the rest of the Owls midfield and attack to set themselves and prepare for a passage of play.
Without him, Wednesday struggled to find space against an incredibly hard working Millers sides. They were closed down all too quickly and often, with desperation to produce something positive, rushed play and gifted the ball back to Rotherham.
Hutchinson is vital for Wednesday, making his injury issues all the more frustrating.
AIDEN MCGEADY IS STILL WELL AWAY FROM HIS BEST
Just as was the case with Gary Hooper when he first arrived at Hillsborough, Aiden McGeady looks every bit the player that has lacked game time this season.
And when the pressure is on him to create, it means plenty of frustration for player and supporter alike.
McGeady looks short of fitness and confidence ensuring opposition defences have a much easier time than they would probably expect.
Unfortunately it appears as though any potency from the Republic of Ireland international is likely to come towards the end of the season.
WEDNESDAY STILL LACK GAME-CHANGING OPTIONS FROM THE BENCH
Lucas Joao made a tremendous difference to Wednesday's game when he came on at half time. But it certainly felt as though Carlos Carvalhal had played his one and only trump card with half the game to go.
Joao's introduction saw Wednesday have the lion's share of attacking play in the second half but when it came to turning the screw, there were few other options to turn to.
Not wanting to withdraw an attacking option for one less threatening, Carvalhal took off Jack Hunt for Lewis McGugan. But the resulting change in formation to 3-1-3-3 disrupted Wednesday's attacking threat with too many players all attempting to do the same thing. It allowed Rotherham to see out the game all too comfortably.
The absences of Forestieri and Hutchinson, plus Marco Matias' lack of fitness, obviously played a part at the weekend. But there still appears to be a lack of true attacking game changers beyond Wednesday's first XI, something that would ideally be addressed quickly as the Owls look to cement a top six place.
CARLOS CARVALHAL IS VERY LEVEL-HEADED - AWAY FROM THE TOUCHLINE AT LEAST
He may struggle to hide his frustration in the technical area but Carvalhal has an incredible knack of leaving his ire at the door before speaking to the media post match. He could easily have ranted about another decision which had not gone the way of his side but the Portuguese restrained himself, determined to avoid making excuses for a failure to pick up victory in a fairly winnable match.
Carvalhal also avoided too much criticism of his players despite a below par performance. He is very measured in what he says and knows there is no point in hanging his players out to dry with plenty of the season to go.
His approach with the media provides confidence he is in control of the situation. And given the recent run of games without a win, his assurance has the ability to calm the nerves.
DON'T EVER THINK YOU'VE SEEN IT ALL WHEN IT COMES TO OFFICIATING
After Fernando Forestieri's scandalous dismissal last week, stonewall penalties being waved off and Leeds' bizarre non-goal at Hillsborough a couple of months ago, Wednesdayites have certainly seen enough of head-scratching officiating.
But none of it was enough to prepare them for seeing an equaliser on Saturday ruled out after protests from Rotherham players.
At the time it certainly appeared as though Michael Turner was in an offside position when Aiden McGeady shot on goal - though replays show he was played on.
So it would have been understandable had the officials ruled the goal out when the ball crossed the line.
But the referee signalled for a goal, and the assistant referee did not flag for an infringement - though Neil Warnock was correct to point out neither did he run along the touchline to await kick off.
The assistant was quickly surrounded by Rotherham players who clearly changed his opinion of the incident, seeing him then raise his flag for offside, ruling out Wednesday's equaliser.
So you can add an official being influenced by opposition is the latest item to be added to Wednesdayites' officiating blacklist.