Sheffield Wednesday column: Why it’s time to have more faith in the Owls’ back up men
It’s cruel that the outcome of Sheffield Wednesday’s season looks to have been determined by one kick of a ball.
After reviving their season like a phoenix rising from the ashes it’s even more unfair that Steven Fletcher – the driving force of the Owls’ late play-off surge – was the man to miss that penalty against Aston Villa.
Then there’s the additional misery of knowing it could have been the goal that won the game against Steve Bruce’s former club, to put the blue and white wizards right in the mix for a top six spot.
And if that all sounds a bit depressing then thank goodness for mid-week Championship football.
Tuesday night’s performance against Nottingham Forest was the definition of ‘bounce back’ but told us much more than the 3-0 scoreline.
When the team news was released before kick off, many Wednesdayites probably found their eyebrows shooting up towards their hairline.
Steve Bruce named four changes as Joey Pelupessy, Morgan Fox, Lucas Joao and Marco Matias all started.
Would they step up to win such an important game? Oh ye of little faith.
And that’s something that has become clear as Wednesday grow into a better than average team under their new manager.
Generally speaking there is a concern that the back ups, cameo players, second string starting team – call them whatever you want – can’t do the job.
Tuesday night showed that maybe they haven’t been given enough opportunities to prove their worth.
And what a time to do it with many of the winning Owls side out of contract at the end of the season and playing for their futures.
It’s not ideal that Wednesday had to resort to four changes in such a crucial game, of course, but they played a different system and managed to put in a strong performance.
It’s something the players have alluded to, but it’s clear that there’s more of a unity about Sheffield Wednesday now.
With a few quality additions this summer, transfer embargo dependant of course, it might finally be time for Wednesday to ditch the mentality of a ‘first team’ and ‘back up’ options.
There was enough of that sort of thing with players getting frozen out under the last regime.
Sometimes it is good to appreciate what each player offers, rather than criticising them for what they lack.
Joey Pelupessy is not Sam Hutchinson, and that’s ok. Likewise George Boyd is not Rolando Aarons, and that’s also ok.
In fact they’ve proven to be more than adequate, so maybe it’s time to appreciate their contributions more than criticising their shortcomings.
After all, success can very often come down to just one kick of a ball.