A summer of radical change awaits Sheffield Wednesday and Danny Rohl

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Alan Biggs on what Sheffield Wednesday's squad could look like when this season finishes

Danny Rohl was well ahead of the game, as he so often is, when he pinpointed players he was ready to jettison in advance of the January window. The Sheffield Wednesday manager was then, in part, overtaken by events with most of those players ending up staying rather than helping fund recruitment. Now, with their contracts expiring, this summer will be different.

Assuming Wednesday stay up, thereby hopefully quashing doubts about Rohl himself staying, there will be an opportunity to remould the squad. And all the signs are that it will be radical with the German having pointedly remarked in an interview last week that he had one of the oldest squads in the Championship.

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This imbalance has been building up for years, though in fairness the club’s recruitment criteria since last summer has swung towards youth. No question that will continue. The bigger question is how much financial backing will be available. It needs to be substantial considering the calibre of senior player Wednesday might need to replace with younger versions.

As for who the departing players could be, take your pick from a long list including, in descending order of age, Lee Gregory, Liam Palmer, Will Vaulks, Josh Windass, Dominic Iorfa and Cameron Dawson.

Oh and skipper Barry Bannan, at 34 exceeded in age only by Gregory. But birth certificate can’t be the only factor. Bannan, besides being a talismanic figure of enduring quality, is also supremely fit, rarely missing games. He’ll want to stay and I’d be shocked if Rohl didn’t want to keep him, albeit on a contract which won’t match the last. I’d make a similar plea for Palmer on the same basis.

You’d imagine more uncertainty with the others. Gregory is sure to leave after being contentiously sidelined. Ditto with keeper Dawson, much younger at 28, in my opinion. Not so much that Wednesday wouldn’t want to retain him; more that he will likely view a move as in his own best interests after taking a buffeting at Hillsborough, not least from fans of his boyhood club.

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You can see Windass moving on too, for differing reasons. A quality player who has missed a substantial number of games, but one who will have takers on the market. Iorfa, 28, too, has been beset by injuries. Again, a player hard to replace, including for versatility. Vaulks, meanwhile, has been steadily pressing his case.

Outside of this, two others over 30, striker Michael Smith and defender Michael Ihiekwe, remain on contract. Not forgetting Marvin Johnson and Reece James, who signed new deals following promotion last summer. The one certainty is that the Owls won’t be carrying nine 30 plus players, as now, in the senior squad next season - in whatever division. And, writing ahead of Plymouth in midweek, I’m still confident it will be the Championship.

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