‘Massive impact’ of Sheffield Wednesday man has set example for big boost returning injury pair

The return of two senior players can give Sheffield Wednesday the equivalent boost of ‘two new signings’, according to Owls boss Darren Moore.
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Michael Ihiekwe was able to make his return to senior action in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Exeter City after 154 days on the sidelines having overcome a serious knee issue.

And there are fingers crossed across the blue side of the city over the possible imminent return of key man Josh Windass, who has missed the club’s last nine outings with a foot problem.

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The fact that both players have been out for respectively significant periods there are obvious concerns over their ability to come straight in to make a positive impact on the matches remaining this season.

Owls Josh Windass fires in a shot   Pic Steve EllisOwls Josh Windass fires in a shot   Pic Steve Ellis
Owls Josh Windass fires in a shot Pic Steve Ellis

But Ihiekwe’s solid cameo outing against the Grecians serves as testament of his ability to do exactly that, as does the example set by the attitude and output of recent returnee Callum Paterson, who was pushed back into the side ahead of schedule owing to an injury crisis up top.

“He’s had a massive impact since he’s come back in and you’re getting him back, you’re getting Icky back, hopefully Josh,” said Moore.

“You can see how we’ve missed these players over the course of the season in types of games like this. Since Pato has come back his impact has been huge. I left him out in the week [at Bristol Rovers] to start because we knew with a three-game week we wanted him to play.”

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A stint out of the side in what has been a bustling period of fixtures for Wednesday could actually prove to be a blessing, as it has been for Paterson, Moore suggested.

He continued: “For Callum, he's missed a block of football so he's eager to get back and he's fresh because he's not had those ten or 12 weeks of football that others have had.

“He's been recovering and to get back now, he's fresh for the run-in. To get him back at this stage, it's like another new signing for us especially with Mallik and Josh out.

“Whether he's up front, in midfield or even when we've put him in defence, what he gives you is that heart and effort and work rate.”