Sheffield Wednesday: 30 reasons to praise Darren Moore for Owls' season so far - Alan Biggs Column

It’s a team game, they say. Here’s 30 reasons to disprove that in the case of a squad game at Sheffield Wednesday.

By Alan Biggs
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 12:01 pm

Astonishingly, 30 is the number of players who have turned out for the Owls in League One this season.

It is also a number that should be heavily factored into any assessment of Darren Moore and his staff.

The level of disruption to his plans in terms of injuries - a dozen and more - has been ridiculous.

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Sheffield Wednesday boss Darren Moore has had to deal with an unenviable injury list this season

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And while there is a burden on the Wednesday boss to get to the bottom of this potentially crippling malaise, he has done particularly well to galvanise such a ravaged group.

Given reasonable luck with injuries, there would be scant excuse with a squad of this quality for not being directly in the running for automatic promotion.

But it’s time to give Moore an even break and if Wednesday make the top six, as they now should, he will have made a more than decent fist of the hand dealt him.

With 32 games gone, only seven players have made more than 20 league appearances. Just two - Barry Bannan and Liam Palmer - have been close to ever-present.

The number of players to have appeared in defensive and midfield positions runs into double figures in each case.

Eight members of the squad have variously appeared up front. Although this has been the least disrupted department, arguably the three best attackers - Lee Gregory, Josh Windass and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing - have been out injured.

So great credit to the group as a whole for coming together and fighting these difficulties. This could not happen without a strong spirit in the camp.

For that, kudos to Moore. He incurred some possibly justifiable criticism in the opening months of the season for appearing not to know his best team and formation.

Increasingly, events have dictated it for him. But he has been consistent in sticking broadly to a 3-5-2 that departs from his favoured 4-4-2 and full marks, in the light of results, for suppressing his preference.

That section of fans who wanted Moore out have swung towards an appreciation of his work and the circumstances that have hampered him.

Certainly, it will help the club in the final crucial weeks of the season to have everyone on the same page.

And there will be a more than committed atmosphere for upcoming back-to-back home games with Charlton and Burton.