Brilliant Barry Bannan, battling Fernando Forestieri, Captain Morgan Fox? - SIX talking points from Sheffield Wednesday's draw with Birmingham City
Sheffield Wednesday’s 3-3 draw away to Birmingham City was a step in the right direction for an Owls team who have been dreadful of late.
Here, Chris Holt picks out SIX big talking points to come from the entertaining game at St Andrew’s.
The midfielder's form this season has been a bit patchy. In recent weeks, games have passed him by a little and for a player who is so often the heart and soul of the Owls team, that has a hugely negative impact on how the team plays as a whole. On Saturday he was back to somewhere near his best. The Scot dictated the play, pulling the strings in the middle of the park, playing much more advanced than he has been and scored a well-taken goal. When he's on it, Wednesday are on it. Hopefully the injury he has been carrying has now cleared up and the brilliantly consistent Bannan we have seen so much of in the past has returned.
A player so often derided in the past, Morgan Fox has performed a remarkable turnaround to the point where he has become on of Wednesday's most important players. That was evident when he came off the bench in returning from injury and helped a reshaped defence look so much more comfortable. Fox marshalled the backline following his half time arrival and even looked like captain material in the way he organised and led. Imagine making that statement a couple of years ago.
Half time switch
A formation change at the break reaped dividends for Wednesday who looked a little stretched at times in the first half. Too many players were back and it left yawning gaps in the middle of the park. The changes saw Joey Pelupessy and Dominic Iorfa sacrificed and the former can count himself unlucky as the much-maligned midfielder actually had a decent 45 minutes in a right wing-back role, with multi-million-pound-rated Birmingham wonderkid Jude Bellingham barely getting a kick.
Showing some b***s
The character and mentality of this squad has been questioned a lot and not just this season. But you have to give the Owls team on Saturday a great deal of credit for the way they bounced back and continued to bounce back. When Jacob Murphy knocked a corner into his own goal after six minutes, fans would have been fearing the worst. But they got a goal back through Bannan and then a Forestieri penalty cancelled out Lukas Jutkiewicz's strike. There was no time to fight back from the last killer blow of a Birmingham injury time equaliser but there was plenty to be proud of from a Wednesday perspective.
His reputation probably precedes him but sometimes the hard work that Fernando Forestieri puts in goes unnoticed. That was never more evident than on Saturday when he played a lone role up front in the first half in amongst what must have looked like Land of the Giants. He ran and ran and ran and hassled and harried and generally made a nuisance of himself as well as providing an attacking outlet.
Same old story
While there were plenty of positives to take from the draw, conceding goals so late in the game is a habit that simply has to be stopped. Wednesday have thrown away so many points this season that had they remained switched on to the end, would have at least been nailed on for a play-off place. Perhaps the recent poor run and lack of confidence played a part this time around but no team can afford to do what Wednesday have done so often those campaign, let alone one that's still trying to look up, while also keeping an eye over their shoulder.