“Let’s be real about it..” Darren Moore admits Sheffield Wednesday trio have failed to make impact as fourth option appears

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The players vying to fill a George Byers-shaped hole in Sheffield Wednesday’s midfield have failed to make much of an impression on Darren Moore as the Owls head into the latter stages of their League One promotion effort.

Byers has sat out with a hamstring issue since the first half of Wednesday’s win at Portsmouth earlier this month, an absence that has coincided with a four game winless streak that has stripped away the Owls dominant placing in the title stakes.

Dennis Adeniran, Fisayo Dele-Bashiru and latterly Tyreeq Bakinson have all been handed chances to impress but their efforts have fallen flat.

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Further injuries to Callum Paterson and Josh Windass – both capable of playing at the top of a midfield triangle – have further constricted Moore’s options in the middle of the pitch.

Sheffield Wednesday boss Darren Moore. Pic: Steve Ellis.Sheffield Wednesday boss Darren Moore. Pic: Steve Ellis.
Sheffield Wednesday boss Darren Moore. Pic: Steve Ellis.

Put to him that the trio have failed to make much of an impact since Byers’ injury, Moore ducked nothing.

“Correct,” he said. “They've all stepped in and they've all been given a chance to stake a claim. Have any of them done it? Taken the bull by the horns? No, not really in terms of performance. Let's be real about it. They know that.”

The size of the squad available to Moore means there will likely be more opportunities handed to the flailing trio – each who have enjoyed periods of relative form at stages throughout the season.

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As these chances continue to fall, the Owls boss made clear it is up to them to improve their output not necessarily for themselves, but for Sheffield Wednesday.

“In terms of the squad and where we are at, they have to be ready for the next opportunity and they have to keep working,” he continued. “The importance is not about their own individual performance, their performance has to be good to reflect on the team.

“They know about it, they have had a couple of chances and they have to go at it again because dependent on the injuries or the little strains we took, maybe they'll have to go again on Saturday. We expect them to put in a performance.

“In the last couple of weeks they've not come out showing any performances but certainly it's something to reflect on because the opportunity may well present itself again.”

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A fourth option in the Moore’s midfield conundrum is the possibility of bringing Reece James into the fold. A left-back by trade, James is a player Moore trusts having worked with him previously at Doncaster Rovers.

He has previous experience of playing in central midfield and has shown a good level of adaptability already this season in shifting from left wing-back to the left of a back three.

“We have considered it because he played for me in there at Doncaster,” Moore said on the possibility of a switch for James.

“He has the capabilities of playing there and if we feel it's right we can certainly put him in there because he'd add that bite and solidity. It's not his position but he can play there. He has that versatility to play in there and we won't discount that.”