Sheffield Wednesday: 'Special talent' Fernando Forestieri set to feature in behind-closed-doors match after serving six-match suspension

He is arguably the most talented footballer on the Owls' books.

Monday, 7th October 2019, 11:31 am
Updated Monday, 7th October 2019, 10:20 pm

Yet Fernando Forestieri has struggled to hit top form and command a regular starting spot over the last two years.

A series of injuries and disciplinary problems has hindered Forestieri's progress.

The Argentine-born forward, a key figure in the Wednesday side that reached successive play-offs in his first two seasons at Hillsborough, has only made one Championship start this term.

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Forestieri is yet to feature under boss Garry Monk, having missed the last six matches through suspension (he was charged by the Football Association for using racist language in a pre-season friendly in 2018).

But having served his lengthy ban, Forestieri will be available for first-team duty again when the Owls go to Cardiff City after the international break on Friday, October 18.

Midfield anchorman Sam Hutchinson, who enjoyed a stint as a media pundit in the South Stand in Saturday's win over Wigan Athletic, said: "I trained with him today (Saturday) and I asked him if he is fit yet and he said 'no' but he has got a couple of games coming up and he is that special talent that we need."

Forestieri was initially granted time off after losing his FA appeal over the racism ban.

But the 29-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has maintained his fitness levels at the club's Middlewood Road training base and was given a run-out in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Chesterfield last week.

The Star understands Forestieri is now pencilled to play in a private match against Rochdale on Tuesday as he looks to force his way into Monk's plans.

"We need him fit, firing and in a good mood and good place,” said Hutchinson. “I think after everything is put behind him you will see the best of Nando again."

Hutchinson was suspended for Saturday's win against Wigan Athletic, having chalked up five yellow cards, and watched the action unfold from the press box, providing co-commentary for Wednesday's iFollow alongside Rob O'Neill.

Owls star Fernando Forestieri

"There was only one team that wanted to win really," he said. "We deserved the win.

"It was hard-fought. The boys worked their bums off."