Sam Winnall hands Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce selection poser for home duel with Blackburn Rovers

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Popular striker Sam Winnall is pushing hard for a Sheffield Wednesday starting berth.

That is the verdict of Owls chief Steve Bruce ahead of their Championship meeting with Blackburn Rovers.

Sam Winnall could lead the line for Sheffield Wednesday

Sam Winnall could lead the line for Sheffield Wednesday

Winnall, who suffered a major knee injury while on loan at Derby County last term, has impressed after coming on as a substitute in Wednesday's last two fixtures. He had a goal controversially ruled out against Derby County and was foiled by Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Remi Matthews in midweek after replacing Atdhe Nuhiu.

His fitness and sharpness has improved with every match and he is now vying with Nuhiu for the right to partner in-form Steven Fletcher in attack.

“That’s the biggest dilemma I’ve got," admitted Bruce. "There’s no doubt about it - the last couple of games in particular - Sam has come on and played a part and done very well.

"He’s in the reckoning."

Duo to put friendship on hold

If Winnall gets the nod up front, it will be his first league start for Wednesday since August 2017.

Bruce said: "He has got goals in him and is another very, very good striker at this level who has had a horrible injury.

"Let’s hope that, touch wood, he is over that and he has a run in the team which can only benefit him and obviously benefit us."

Forwards Lucas Joao (knee) and Fernando Forestieri (hamstring) are still sidelined while Gary Hooper is short of match fitness following a lengthy injury lay-off. Hooper is scheduled to play in a behind-closed-doors match against Scunthorpe United next Tuesday as he continues his recovery from groin surgery.