'Fernando Forestieri is focused and raring to go,' says Sheffield Wednesday new boy

There is still a dark cloud hanging over Fernando Forestieri as the Owls prepare to kick off their Championship campaign at Reading.

By Dom Howson
Friday, 02 August, 2019, 14:28

It emerged on Wednesday afternoon that the Football Association's independent regulatory commission had found Forestieri guilty of using racist language during a pre-season friendly against Mansfield Town in July 2018.

Although the 29-year-old was acquitted of racially aggravated harassment and using threatening words or behaviour towards Stags defender Krystian Pearce at Mansfield Magistrates' Court in March, the FA reopened their investigation and the commission felt there was enough evidence for them to find Forestieri in breach of their rules.

So the governing body have given Forestieri a six-match ban and fined him £25,000.

Owls star Fernando Forestieri

But the talismanic forward is contesting the racial abuse suspension, meaning he is available for the Owls' meeting with Reading at the Madejski Stadium this weekend.

Summer signing Kadeem Harris told The Star: "Fernando is same as everyone else. Focused and raring to go when he gets the opportunity to step back on the pitch.

"It (the possible ban) has not got in the way of his training or affected his attitude. It has all been positive."

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After an eventful week, Forestieri is unlikely to start Wednesday's league opener against the Royals. But the Argentine-born player could be included on the bench as the Owls look to win consecutive away league matches at Reading for the first time since December 1979.

"Of course, he can be a big asset," said Harris. "I knew coming here he was one of the standout players at this club.

"I have seen him train and he proved me right. I am sure he will perform when he gets that opportunity."

Caretaker boss Lee Bullen says Forestieri is in a "much more positive mood than he was a few days ago".

"Obviously, he was disappointed but his head is in the right place," said Bullen. "He has spoken to me and said: 'Listen, if I'm in the squad, I really want to go and don't think about leaving me out.'

"He's still very positive. Football allows you to forget about things on the outside at times and credit to the wee man.

"He had two or three days where he was sort of down which you can understand but since then he has come back and trained tremendously well and he is really up for being involved in the game on Saturday."