Rampant Plymouth Argyle win a step in the right direction but Sheffield Wednesday's identity mission goes on

Darren Moore has made it clear on a number of occasions he wants his Sheffield Wednesday side to play ‘front-foot, attacking football’. But he also made clear it wouldn’t happen overnight.

Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 3:00 pm

Wednesday managers past have long had to deal with the notion of a lack of identity or philosophy, the 2015/16 season perhaps the last time fans could point to a style of play and suggest clear evidence of ‘a Wednesday Way’ in attack.

And so when Moore spoke of a transition to the sort of football he had earned plaudits for beginning to implement at Doncaster Rovers, Wednesdayites sounded their approval.

Some 10 months into the Hillsborough reign of the Owls boss it could be argued that beyond glimmers of that ‘front-foot’ ideal, a definitive style of play is yet to have been established at S6; Moore’s preference for a ‘horses for courses’ policy early on succeeded by an injury crisis that has ravaged any hope of a settled side and swagger.

A cursory look at the League One metrics around passing style and attack composition shows Wednesday to be in the middle third for most. Where MK Dons can point to the fact they top the league for passing rate for example and Rotherham to their pressing stats, Moore’s Owls are more often than not marooned in midtable.

But the likes of MK Dons and Rotherham are much further into their current cycle than Wednesday, who do sit fourth in the league when it comes to one-on-ones and crossing and are continuing in their transition towards something new.

With these numbers put to the Wednesday boss ahead of the weekend’s excellent win over Plymouth, Moore admitted the installation of a tangible attacking identity is an ongoing mission.

“What we’ve tried to do is become a team that is harder to beat,” Moore said on stage one of his plan. “We wanted to be stronger and provide more solidity in the team. When you do that you can build from that solid base.

Sheffield Wednesday are working towards Darren Moore's ideal for 'attacking, front foot football'.

“It was then a case of building towards getting our more advanced players up the pitch. Obviously that’s been hindered a little bit because we’ve had a lot of disruption to our defensive rearguard throughout the course of the season.

“We’ve had to play those square pegs in round holes through the season and we’ve had to get on with it without people in their preferred position.”

Asked whether the development of their attacking identity has been put on the back burner a touch while the club address their ongoing injury struggles, Moore admitted the movement of key attacking players into foreign positions has slowed things down.

“It’s hindered us in terms of the attacking side of the team,” he said. “I brought a lot of attacking players into the football club and we want to have that flair.

“That’s always been my style of play and I want to address that.

“Of course we want to score goals. When you do that you win games. We’re working towards that in each and every game and in training to make sure we are competitive going forward.

“All those stats that you point to are stats that we want to improve on in the second half of the season.”