The big selection dilemma facing Lee Bullen ahead of Sheffield Wednesday's season opener against Reading

Decision day is looming for Lee Bullen.

Tuesday, 30th July 2019, 14:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th July 2019, 17:52 pm

The former Owls centre-half will lead the side in Saturday's season opener against Reading - and midfield ace Barry Bannan believes Bullen faces a tough selection dilemma, particularly up front.

Steven Fletcher, Jordan Rhodes, Fernando Forestieri, Sam Winnall, Atdhe Nuhiu and Lucas Joao have all been among the goals in pre-season.

Bannan told The Star: "The strikers confidence is sky high because they keep scoring goals. They are all happy that they are scoring and they have been flying in pre-season so it will be hard to pick a striker for the game on Saturday.

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"We have got six strikers so I am glad that I am not the manager and has to pick the team."

Wednesday signed off pre-season with a 2-2 Hillsborough draw with Spanish side Espanyol last Sunday. Fletcher and Forestieri registered either side of half-time as the Owls were twice pegged back.

"Espanyol was a tough, tough test but I think we were probably the better team," said Bannan, who delivered a superb cross from the left for Fletcher's opener. "I think the boys looked really, really good and it showed where we are at at the end of pre-season.

"It is a big confidence boost how we played but we obviously can't get carried away. It was a friendly but the fitness levels looked really, really high and that's what you want in pre-season.

"I think we are the fittest we have been in a while so we are looking forward to the season."

Bannan was also quick to praise Bullen, who is currently in temporary charge of the Championship club following Steve Bruce's controversial move to Newcastle United.

"Bully has stepped in in difficult circumstances and done really well," said Bannan. "He has kept the boys going because it could have been easy to get down after losing a good manager to Newcastle.

"The team spirit we have got here has played a massive part. We have been together for years now and we have got a strong core. As well as Bully helping us, we have helped ourselves."

Owls caretaker boss Lee Bullen

Speaking for the first time about Bruce's departure, Bannan admitted: "It came as a shock, but that's football at the end of the day. It happens everywhere.

"It happened at a bad time for us because we were flying in pre-season and really looking forward to the season ahead.

"The manager going disrupted things a little bit, but to be fair the boys have been brilliant. We have kept our eyes on the prize and that's Reading on Saturday.

"We have kept working towards that and everything that has gone on off the pitch has been swept under the carpet really and we are just focusing on Reading."