Owls debate: Should Sheffield Wednesday rest players for clash with Fulham? YES, says Dom Howson - now is not the time to take chances

Fernando Forestieri missed a number of matches due to injury this season
Fernando Forestieri missed a number of matches due to injury this season
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Wednesday have earned the right to give some players a breather on the final day.

Only Premier League-bound Brighton and Hove Albion have picked up as many points as the Owls from the last 25 matches. Their form has been outstanding.

But Wednesday have to look at the bigger picture. A coveted place in the Premier League is at stake.

If the Owls are to end their 17-year top-flight exile, they need all their top performers fit and firing on all cylinders. It is important everyone in the squad is fresh, sharp and focused for the challenge that lies on the horizon.

Having already confirmed their place in the play-offs, it is in the best interests of Wednesday to protect key players from injuries or suspension. It would be extremely damaging to their hopes of going up if, for example, Tom Lees or Gary Hooper, were ruled out. It is all hands to the pump now.

READ MORE: The other side of the argument - Chris Holt says NO! Make sure they all fear facing Owls

A series of injury problems have hampered the Owls all season. Had Lees, Kieran Lee, Almen Abdi, Fernando Forestieri and Hooper stayed out of the treatment room, maybe Carlos Carvalhal’s side could have pushed harder for an automatic berth. We will never know now but why risk anybody else picking up a knock at such a pivotal period?

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I appreciate Wednesday are flying but fielding an under-strength side against Wolverhampton Wanderers last year had no bearing on how they performed in the semi-finals versus Brighton and Hove Albion. Heading into the play-offs in good form isn’t a necessity. It, of course, helps having momentum but it doesn’t guarantee anything.

The Owls’ squad is so strong that whatever team Carvalhal selects will feel confident of picking up a positive result.

Sunday’s match also provides Carvalhal with an opportunity to experiment and hand valuable game time to his back-up players, who he may, at some stage, need to call upon over the coming weeks.