Sheffield Wednesday: 'Fernando Forestieri is an X factor player and is still a massive part of the club'
Caretaker manager Lee Bullen insists Fernando Forestieri is still a "massive part" of his plans, despite the Owls forward's lack of game time this season.
Argentine-born Forestieri has largely been a peripheral figure in their opening six fixtures, making just three substitute appearances.
Forestieri, who is in the final year of his Wednesday contract, is also waiting to discover the outcome of his appeal to the Football Association's racism charge against him. It was a month ago that the FA found Forestieri guilty of using racist language towards Mansfield Town defender Krystian Pearce during a pre-season friendly at the One Call Stadium last summer.
Should Forestieri fail to get the charge overturned, the 29-year-old will be banned for six matches.
Bullen said: “Fernando is still a massive part of the club.
"He has had his ups and downs with the ongoing issues away from the football side of things, so we’ve had to be mindful of that.
"We’ve had to think about his mindset, which is obviously still hanging about.
"But he’s trained brilliantly, he’s done everything right and he’s had a sniff here and there.
"There have been times where we thought his mental state of mind wasn’t right, so we’ve had to be careful with that.
"The problem with social media is that people put two and two together and get five.
"But we see him day in, day out and we understand better than anyone where he’s at.
“We know he is a big, big benefit to this football club – and he will be used when we feel he’s right and when we feel we need him."
Forestieri is pushing to make his first Owls start in their home tussle with Queens Park Rangers this Saturday.
“Fernando is an X factor player," said Bullen. "When he is on it, he is a Premier League player.
"He’s only playing at this level because of his consistency levels – and I think he’d freely admit it.
"But I think he knows his strengths and his weaknesses and there are times where we also have to be a bit more pragmatic and go a bit more defensive-minded. In those certain situations Fernando is probably not the man.
"He is certainly a player who is a big positive for us. He is great round the changing room and he is very much a family man.
"I have always had a great relationship with him. He’s the type of player who can win a game on his own at times.
"We are positive with Fernando. We’re trying to keep his mindset really strong because of the outside factors, but he seems good within himself at the moment."