Sheffield Wednesday talking points: Kieran and Keiren steal the show, end of season slump and a top half finish
It may have been the end of the season but there was still plenty to learn from Sheffield Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat to QPR on Sunday.
With a big summer ahead there’s plenty of talking points, positives and negatives to take from the performance at Hillsborough. So, let’s get stuck in…
It would seem unfair to start anywhere else after Lee has waited nearly a year and a half for a Wednesday start.
Back where he belongs at the heart of the midfield, Lee didn’t look too far off the pace considering how long he has been out of action.
Steve Bruce has suggested he wants to keep the out of contract midfielder at the club which is a real vote of confidence in the midfielder.
His performance against QPR showed signs that he should be able to get back to his best.
A different spelling and a different position, but another Keiren-based positive from Sunday’s match.
Straight back into the team as he returned from injury and with a handful of huge stops plus a penalty save, looked like he had never been away.
We know there’s a new contract for the 34-year-old on the table – Wednesdayites will be praying that the Republic of Ireland international picks up a pen and signs it, especially after another stellar performance.
Top half finish
Steve Bruce isn’t prepared to accept mediocrity, and that’s got to be a massive plus point.
Given Wednesday’s start to the season, 12th place probably isn’t something to be overly disappointed with but if one thing is for certain it’s that Bruce won’t be resting on his laurels this summer.
He’s got changes planned and will want a top six finish at the very least this time next year.
For now, it’s a chance to say job well done in the second half of the campaign at least.
The Dutchman has shown what he is really capable of in his last few matches and added another strong performance against the Hoops.
He’s become more consistent on and off the ball and handled the change of midfield partner and loss of Sam Hutchinson in the second half very well.
Steve Bruce could yet get the best out of the midfielder if he is given time to impress.
Maybe he was rushed back too soon because Wednesday are without much depth in central midfield, but Hutchinson’s injury means a frustrating end to the campaign.
Obviously there’s the off-season for the Owls number 23 to regain fitness and assess the problem, but it’s never ideal to be hamstrung by constant injuries to your best players.
There was nothing to play for in the match and it showed.
Wayward passes and a lack of concentration hampered Wednesday’s performance as a long, arduous season looked like it had caught up with them.
Maintaining focus until the final whistle has blown was what ended their play-off push after conceding late against Aston Villa and Norwich and will be something Steve Bruce needs to train his team to mange if they want to go the distance and achieve promotion next year.