Sam Winnall hands Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce selection poser for home duel with Blackburn Rovers

Popular striker Sam Winnall is pushing hard for a Sheffield Wednesday starting berth.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 12:44 pm
Updated Friday, 15th March 2019, 12:48 pm
Sam Winnall could lead the line for Sheffield Wednesday

That is the verdict of Owls chief Steve Bruce ahead of their Championship meeting with Blackburn Rovers.

Winnall, who suffered a major knee injury while on loan at Derby County last term, has impressed after coming on as a substitute in Wednesday's last two fixtures. He had a goal controversially ruled out against Derby County and was foiled by Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Remi Matthews in midweek after replacing Atdhe Nuhiu.

Sam Winnall could lead the line for Sheffield Wednesday

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His fitness and sharpness has improved with every match and he is now vying with Nuhiu for the right to partner in-form Steven Fletcher in attack.

“That’s the biggest dilemma I’ve got," admitted Bruce. "There’s no doubt about it - the last couple of games in particular - Sam has come on and played a part and done very well.

"He’s in the reckoning."

If Winnall gets the nod up front, it will be his first league start for Wednesday since August 2017.

Bruce said: "He has got goals in him and is another very, very good striker at this level who has had a horrible injury.

"Let’s hope that, touch wood, he is over that and he has a run in the team which can only benefit him and obviously benefit us."

Forwards Lucas Joao (knee) and Fernando Forestieri (hamstring) are still sidelined while Gary Hooper is short of match fitness following a lengthy injury lay-off. Hooper is scheduled to play in a behind-closed-doors match against Scunthorpe United next Tuesday as he continues his recovery from groin surgery.