Sheffield Wednesday: Dom Howson's player ratings for the season so far...

As the halfway point in the season fast approaches, it is time to take stock of Sheffield Wednesday's campaign.

Friday, 7th December 2018, 7:32 am
Updated Friday, 7th December 2018, 7:40 am
Sheffield Wednesday

Jos Luhukay’s Owls side are languishing in the lower reaches of the Championship after losing six of their last eight matches.Some of the players have excelled. Others have underachieved. Here are my school gradings:

The academy graduate has been under intense scrutiny ever since Luhukay handed him the No 1 jersey in front of Wildsmith and Westwood. Dawson has started every Championship fixture and has been one of the few bright spots in a miserable season. He has shown real character in the face of adversity and was voted the club's Player of the Month for November.
It has been a frustrating season for the 22-year-old. He has largely played second fiddle to Dawson, making just two appearances in the Carabao Cup.

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He has never played under Luhukay. Twelve months ago, Westwood was Wednesday's first-choice shot-stopper. Now he is regarded as the Owls' third goalkeeping option behind Dawson and Wildsmith.
Neither Palmer nor Baker have done enough to cement the right-back/right wing back slot. It is a position that Luhukay has constantly chopped and changed. Palmer has played fractionally more (11 league starts to Baker's nine) but his form has been up and down.
It is the youngster's first full season at Championship level and he has established himself as a permanent fixture in the Wales Under-21 set-up. Baker is aggressive, energetic and strong in the tackle. Gets caught out of position from time to time and needs to work on his end product.
The Dutch centre-half, a 4m buy from Heerenveen, will be glad when 2018 is over. Van Aken has made just two senior appearances, coming off in both away fixtures against Wigan Athletic and Sunderland this term. He is on the comeback trail after recovering from an ankle injury.
A mixed season for the skipper. He has chipped in with two important goals in home victories over Millwall and Bolton Wanderers but has been part of the leakiest defence in the division. Lees was dropped for the first time in his Wednesday career following his error in the defeat to Middlesbrough.
When is on song, Hector looks a classy, commanding defender. The Chelsea loanee was outstanding against Aston Villa, Leeds United and Sheffield United. But the Jamaican international has also made a number of costly mistakes which have culminated in goals. Must cut out the lapses in concentration to fulfil his potential.
The Czech Republic international has been in the wars this season. He spent a month on the sidelines with a groin injury he suffered at Brentford. Shortly after returning to action, Pudil broke his nose against Aston Villa, forcing him to sit out the Leeds draw. To compound his woes, Pudil sustained a head injury in the loss to Queens Park Rangers. He has not featured since the Norwich City mauling.
The former Charlton Athletic player has struggled to hold down a regular starting place, appearing six times in the Championship. Ironic cheers greeted Luhukay's decision to take Fox off in the second half of their Hillsborough defeat to Derby County last month. He has not played in the last two fixtures.
Big fan of the 22-year-old. He is a no nonsense, whole-hearted centre-half. Thorniley is primarily a centre-back but the former Everton youngster has never complained when Luhukay has played him out of position. Thorniley has been deployed in a three-man defence, at left-back and as a wing back and always got on with the job to the best of his ability.
His Wednesday career was going nowhere until Luhukay gave him a chance. Penney repaid Luhukay's faith in him by putting in a string of accomplished displays at left back/left wing back. His impressive form prompted Wednesday to tie him down to a new contract. However, Penney has gone off the boil since the second international break, although Luhukay has not done him any favours by frequently changing his starting position.
Luhukay bizarrely played Hutchinson as an attacking midfielder in their opening two league matches. He was selected in his preferred holding midfield role in the Brentford horror-show but was taken off at half-time at Griffin Park after giving away a penalty. Like Westwood, Hutchinson has been frozen out. Luhukay insists there has been no fallout but Hutchinson's last outing came in their cup tie with Wolverhampton Wanderers back in August.
He has dropped completely out of the first-team picture. The 34-year-old has not made a single appearance in the league, with his only game time coming in the cup. Since shrugging off a minor knock, Jones has recently figured for the Under-23s.
Towards the end of last season, Pelupessy looked as if he was getting to grips with the Championship and there were signs his burgeoning partnership with Barry Bannan would help kick the club on to new heights. Too often, though, the Dutchman fails to impose himself on matches. He is consistently inconsistent.
Impossible to judge the youngster on three substitute appearances.
The little playmaker was in sparkling form in the early part of the season. He put in a string of fine displays and scored two stunning goals against Millwall and Stoke City to help Wednesday move into the play-off positions. His performance levels have dipped of late and he is only one booking away from a two-match suspension.
Wednesday's star man. Reach is an integral cog in the side. His energy, creativity and shooting from long range has been a feature throughout this term. Reach has already found the back of the net on six occasions. Don't be surprised if there are a few Premier League club's eyeing up a move for Reach come January.
Luhukay has discarded the old guard, leaving the likes of Boyd, Jones, Hutchinson, Westwood and Almen Abdi out of the squad. You have to go back to August for the last time Boyd was involved.
He has been a major disappointment since arriving from Tottenham. Regarded as a box-to-box midfielder, Onomah has struggled to make a big impact. He has found it difficult to force his way into Luhukay's first eleven has barely figured since the team's Norwich drubbing.
The wide man caught the eye on his full debut against Millwall. Preston is athletic, direct and can consider himself unfortunate to have not played more in the Championship. Two of his four outings have come off the bench.
On his day, Fletcher is a superb targetman and a real focal point for the team. Not only is Fletcher a handful in the air, he is also effective at holding the ball up and linking the midfield and attack. His return to full fitness and improved form earned him a deserved Scotland recall. Although Luhukay has frequently rotated his forward line, Fletcher will be a tad frustrated by his goal return. He should have scored more than three goals.
It has been a first half of the season to forget for the big man. People expected Nuhiu to push on following his strong finish to the 2017/18 campaign but he has gone backwards. The Kosovo international not scored for the Owls since their opening-day defeat to Wigan Athletic. Too many of his performances have not been up to scratch. Nuhiu looks a player desperately short on confidence and self belief.
You are never quite sure what you are going to get from the Portugal international. When he is in the mood and firing on all cylinders, Joao can be unplayable. Big, strong, fast, powerful and direct, Joao was the matchwinner in victories over Ipswich Town, Reading and Bristol City. But Joao is another player that has struggled for consistency and has been in and out of the side.
The Argentine-born player kicked off the campaign in style, scoring versus Wigan and Hull City. However, the goals soon dried up for Forestieri and he lost his place in the starting eleven. Injuries have hampered him in recent months. He looks set for another spell on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring problem at Blackburn Rovers.
He is finally starting to justify the 1m plus transfer fee Wednesday shelled out to sign him from Portuguese club Nacional in July 2015. Matias, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, has bagged three goals in 13 appearances in all competitions this term. The key for Matias is to stay out of the treatment room and to keep putting in hard-working shifts in the wide areas.