Adam Reach absence explained and Sheffield Wednesday’s shift in formation

Only Barry Bannan has played more minutes for Sheffield Wednesday than Adam Reach this season, but he was left out of the starting XI completely for the clash with Birmingham City.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 12:30 pm

Reach has played a lot of games under Neil Thompson since he was brought in to replace Tony Pulis, playing a vital role in the run of results that saw the Owls make a bit of progress at the foot of the Championship table.

But when ‘Thommo’ named his starting XI to face the Blues in a bottom-of-the-table clash on Saturday, the versatile midfield man only made the bench. He came on for Chey Dunkley in the 66th minute.

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When asked about the decision to leave Reach out of the side, Thompson told The Star, “I spoke to Adam, and he’s played a lot of football… Since I’ve been in charge he’s played every game - every minute nearly. So it was just to freshen it up.

“There were one or two changes today, like Rhodesy dropped out again and Osaze. It’s what we need to do, and that’ll be ever the case as we go through the last games of the season.”

Meanwhile, when asked about the switch from a back three with wingbacks to a flat back four, ‘Thommo explained, “I thought they were going to play one up front, and that we didn’t need three centre backs picking up that one.

“Liam Palmer has had some time out, so there were some fresh legs with him and Matt coming down the sides.

Sheffield Wednesday's Adam Reach came on in the second half against Birmingham City. Isaac Parkin/PA Wire)

“We played Baz in off the left, moving him more centrally later on because I wanted him on the ball more.

“The three centre backs has worked in a lot of games, but today I didn’t feel like it was the right way to go.”

It remains to be seen how Wednesday will line up in midweek when they face a Brentford side desperate to return to winning ways, and whether the Owls boss will return to the 3-5-2 formation that they have used so regularly over the last year or so.

Either way, changes to the starting XI are expected against the Bees, but only time will tell how many will be made.

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