Joost van Aken makes return from injury as Sheffield Wednesday Under-23s lose at home to Burnley
Owls defender Joost van Aken finally returned to action in the Under-23s home showdown with Burnley.
Van Aken, a Â£4m purchase from Dutch club Heerenveen in August 2017, came through unscathed the first half of the development match at Middlewood Road today.
It was the tall centre-half's first outing since he sustained an ankle injury in Wednesday's Carabao Cup triumph at Sunderland back in August.
It is likely the former Dutch Under-21 international will have to play a minimum of one more second-string match before Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay considers him for first-team selection.
Van Aken was unable to prevent Burnley securing a 4-2 victory. Goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith made a string of errors as Daniel Agyet (2), Tinashe Charwana and Olatunde Bayode netted for the Clarets.
"It was good Joost got 45 minutes under his belt," Owls U23s boss Neil Thompson told The Star. "He has been out a long time.
"Joe also needed the minutes so it was great to get them on the pitch. U23 games are about helping first-team players get match fit."
A Jack Stobbs penalty and a late header by Fraser Preston reduced the Owls' arrears.
Thompson said: "I thought a lot of players played with a high energy and determination.
"To go 3-1 and then 4-1 down was not a true reflection of the game but football is like that sometimes. It kicks you in the teeth.
"We have to keep the back door shut. I thought there was a real spark and the good thing about the players is they never gave up and kept driving forwards and trying to do the right things.
"But, at the end of the day, they are still very young and a little bit naive at times. When they get more experience games under the belt, hopefully those things will come."