Darren Moore explains Sheffield Wednesday sub quandry that killed attacking impetus in Oxford United draw

Sheffield Wednesday were unable to rouse much in the way of attacking threat late on in their 1-1 draw at Oxford United after a 70th minute Cameron Brannagan penalty consigned them to a sixth-straight game without a win.
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The Owls tumbled out of the automatic promotion spots after a laboured three weeks in which they have been left stretched by injuries and scrambling for momentum against a juggernaut double effort by Plymouth Argyle and Ipswich Town.

Mallik Wilks was the brightest attacking spark for the Owls for much of the Kassam Stadium stalemate but was hauled off with Fisayo Dele-Bashiru on to replace him just moments after Brannagan levelled-up Barry Bannan’s first half wonder strike.

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The sub raised more than a few eyebrows given Wednesday’s position in the game.

Owls Mallik Wilks     Pic Steve EllisOwls Mallik Wilks     Pic Steve Ellis
Owls Mallik Wilks Pic Steve Ellis

Speaking to The Star, Darren Moore admitted that the temptation was to keep Wilks going but that taking him off was a difficult decision that had to be made given the injury longlist being battled against at S6 and the fact he was making his first start since the start of January.

Accepting Wednesday were not able to create a great deal after Wilks was taken off, Moore spoke ruefully at the position he finds himself in.

“It got to 70 minutes and, yeah,” he paused. “Once you start getting into those minutes, you really start running the risk with it [injury].

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“We know he’s coming back from a calf injury and the level of injury that he had, with the games coming up, with the injury to Smudger [Michael Smith was pulled out of the game with a calf strain], it’s limited up there at the moment.

“Of course we were tempted to keep him on but we know when they start getting into those latter parts of the game, that’s where the strains come on.

“That’s how Jack Hunt’s came on, that’s where Michael Smith’s has come on.

“It’s when you get into the latter parts of games and those last 20 minutes, your body goes into those levels and precaution has to be brought into consideration.

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“We put the fresher legs on to try to replace that but we lost that impetus going forward in terms of a threat.”