Steve Bruce opens up on the difficulty of keeping Sheffield Wednesday’s big squad happy

Never before in Steve Bruce's 21-year managerial career has he been able to call upon so many centre-forwards.

Monday, 4th February 2019, 09:13 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 16:18 pm

Sheffield Wednesday have an embarrassment of riches up front, having invested heavily in their attacking options since owner Dejphon Chansiri's arrival in January 2015.

The Championship club shelled out lavish amounts of money on wages and transfer fees to strengthen their forward line, bringing in Marco Matias, Lucas Joao, Fernando Forestieri, Gary Hooper, Steven Fletcher, Sam Winnall and Jordan Rhodes.

Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce says it will be difficult to keep his squad happy if certain players are getting little game time

It was Joao that came up trumps in Bruce's first match in charge of the Owls, stepping up off the bench to bag a late winner in Saturday's hard-earned win over bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town. Atdhe Nuhiu was an unused substitute at Portman Road while Matias and Winnall were not selected in the matchday squad.

Sign up to our Sheffield Wednesday newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

With Hooper edging closer to a return to full training following a lengthy spell on the sidelines and Rhodes due to come back from a loan spell at Norwich City this summer, Bruce will soon have even more striking options at his disposal.

"I think it is the difficulty that any manager would walk into now at Sheffield Wednesday," Bruce told The Star. "I have not been to a club where I have got seven centre forwards and possibly eight if we include Jordan Rhodes in that.

"Don't get me wrong, it is a nice problem to have. But, of course, when you have got so many in one position, it is how do you keep them all happy and that is going to be the challenge going forward."

Bruce has indicated Wednesday have "too many" forwards on their books. As revealed by The Star last week, Sunderland inquired about the possibility of taking Winnall on loan until the end of the campaign before eventually turning their attentions elsewhere.

Bruce, whose Owls side welcome relegation-threatened Reading to Hillsborough this weekend, is keen to reduce the size of their squad.

"The problem that we have got is I left seven players behind (against Ipswich)," said Bruce. "I still travelled with 20 so there is a big squad we have got which needs to be trimmed.

"It is impossible to keep 27 happy so that will be the first job. People want to play.

"I have given them all the assurance that they will get their chance. Some proved it (at Ipswich). The back four and goalkeeper were immaculate so long may that continue."

Given he has plenty of players to choose from in most areas, keeping everyone happy could prove to be one of Bruce’s biggest tasks.