Alan Biggs' Sheffield Wednesday column: Owls still have attacking concerns after just 11 goals in nine games

You’d expect Steve Bruce to know a centre half when he sees one.

Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 6:00 pm
Sheffield Wednesday's Steven Fletcher rues a missed chance after a shot on goal. Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

And also Garry Monk, for that matter.

Both Sheffield Wednesday’s last two managers played in that position and, between them, they have nailed down a formidable back line, underpinned by a defensive duo signed by Bruce.

But Monk’s focus on events further upfield must be intensifying, despite last week’s late collapse to a 2-1 defeat at Blackburn.

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The fact is that Wednesday have had too little to defend in too many matches, much as Dominic Iorfa and Julian Borner, at the heart of the back four, have consistently excelled.

Their efforts, and those of Liam Palmer, Morgan Fox and goalkeepers Keiren Westwood and Cameron Dawson, have made a big contribution to the 15 points gained from Monk’s nine matches so far.

So, while the immediate attention was drawn to uncharacteristic defensive errors at Ewood Park, it is arguably more relevant to zoom in on a recurring failure to maximise winning positions.

Monk pinpointed offensive concerns from day one, straight after a 2-0 win at Huddersfield in his first match.

Whether it’s midfield balance, a lack of thrust, cautious selection, or a mentality issue, Wednesday aren’t quite asserting themselves well enough - yet - to take full advantage of an open division.

It can feel like a team with a big opportunity playing with the handbrake on.

The margins are fine and Monk is tinkering with personnel and tactics, tailoring them to the opposition, but nonetheless has found most of the team picking itself (including Barry Bannan, whose absence was keenly felt last week).

So the answer is not screamingly obvious, probably down more to work on the training ground than changing individuals.

In fairness, too, there is not a lot wrong in terms of a more than steady start under this manager; still only two defeats.

But 11 goals in nine games - including four in one match - is an output that could do with upping, ahead of the visit of another of Monk’s former clubs, Swansea, flying high but only four points ahead.

Worth pointing out, also, that Bruce’s other main signing, Kadeem Harris, has been excellent in offering a constant attacking threat.

That’s three terrific additions by the former boss.

Fans won’t exactly be shouting that from the rooftops, and understandably so after the manner of his departure, which was also criticised here.

But it’s worth acknowledging that Bruce at least left Wednesday far better equipped than when he arrived.