Sheffield Wednesday: Darren Moore must bring in players of his own image as Owls look to eradicate Groundhog Day mess

It was a question repackaged, reworded but posed to Darren Moore time and time again at football grounds up and down the country.

Thursday, 26th May 2022, 10:00 am

Why – given the fact his incredible playing career was built on physicality, organisation, an ability to take control of difficult defensive situations – does his Sheffield Wednesday side keep stepping on the same rake and conceding soft goals, particularly from set pieces?

End of season statistics taken from the 2021/22 League One season are a surely source of embarrassment for both squad and manager. In terms of goals conceded from set pieces, only Cheltenham (21 – finished in 15th), Morecambe (23 in 19th) and Doncaster (26 in 24th and bottom) ranked worse than the fourth-placed Owls.

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Sheffield Wednesday boss Darren Moore rarely took a step back from the challenge of imposing himself on a football game.

In terms of a percentage of goals conceded across the whole season, no team was hurt more than Wednesday, who shipped an eye-watering 38 per cent of their goals in the regular season courtesy an inability to defend set pieces.

Whenever that question was raised post-match after another set piece calamity, Moore often responded with a rare sense of frustration. Individual errors, he said, were a big part of an issue they worked hard to eradicate in training.

So to the summer and what needs to be done about it.

Moore and his players were always at pains to point out that when it comes to set pieces, defenders are not the only players tasked with keeping the ball out of the net.

But with the loan trio of Harlee Dean, Jordan Storey and Lewis Gibson having headed back to their parent clubs and Chey Dunkley and Sam Hutchinson both confirmed to be released at the end of their contracts, it is that area of the pitch that will surely receive the most attention in the transfer stakes.

Imposing, physical defenders who can play with the level of confidence on the ball Moore requires are hard to come by especially in the third tier on a belt-tightened budget, but will surely be close to the top of the shopping list when it comes to summer additions at Wednesday.

What Darren Moore would give for a couple of 20-something Darren Moores to be on the market over the next few weeks.