Neil Thompson on Jordan Rhodes absence and the player that will be 'invaluable' to Sheffield Wednesday survival bid
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The club record signing, who has found chances limited under the club’s last three managers, was not even named on the bench for the St Andrews clash, which saw Wednesday fall to a lacklustre 2-0 defeat.
Josh Windass was chosen to start up front with Andre Green providing support, but little went right for the Owls going forward on a night to forget.
Rhodes had been linked with a move away from Hillsborough earlier in the transfer window but talks, for now, appear to have fallen flat.
Asked about the striker’s absence, Thompson said: “Rhodesy has been out for a little while because of the situation we had last week. We need people to have a full week’s training.
“But Jordan is one of six strikers we’ve got and trying to find the right combination is difficult. Jordan comes into that group and at the moment it’s up to them to keep focus.
“It’s frustrating for all of them I know, whether they’re involved or on the bench but that’s football.”
One eyebrow-raising inclusion in the team was Sam Hutchinson, who started in midfield alongside Joey Pelupessy after just one full training session since his signing earlier in the week.
The 31-year-old put himself about but alongside the majority of his teammates was understandably a little off the pace as Wednesday lost ground in the race for survival.
“Sam has come back in,” Thompson said. “We all know what Sam is, he’s a winner an the squad is certainly better for having him here.
“He’s come straight back in to it and his experience in this run in will be invaluable as will that of one or two others.”
Refusing to use their time away from the training ground as any sort of excuse, the stand-in coach said: “We’ve got to keep positive.
"We’ve got to re-group, it can be difficult but we don’t have time to breathe now in terms of the programme. We’re going to get twists and turns and ups and downs and tonight was a difficult one for us to take.
“But we’ve got to take it on the chin, analyse it and move on.”