Sheffield Wednesday: Garry Monk faces selection headaches ahead of big week for Owls
The return of Sheffield Wednesday stalwarts Tom Lees, Sam Hutchinson and Fernando Forestieri has presented Garry Monk with much to ponder ahead of Friday’s crucial trip to Cardiff.
The Wednesday boss offered first league starts of the season to midfield duo Massimo Luongo and Joey Pelupessy in the Owls’ last outing – a 1-0 home win over Wigan Athletic – and has described the importance of players on the fringes of the side throughout his six weeks at Hillsborough.
The international break has offered skipper Lees the opportunity to recover from a hamstring injury and he could be in line to make his first appearance since August. His is the first dilemma posed to Monk, who has praised the deputy partnership of Julian Borner and Dominic Iorfa at the heart of the Wednesday defence.
And it is the Wigan showing of Pelupessy and particularly £1million signing Luongo that has cooked up food for thought in midfield, where Hutchinson is available for a recall following his suspension.
So to returns Forestieri into the fold, who offers the Owls an ‘x-factor’ in attack and was a bright spark in the under-23s rampant 5-1 win at Hull City over the weekend. Quite where he best fits into any of the systems Monk has showcased so far remains to be seen.
The former Italy under-21 forward received a nasty kick to the ribs in the process of winning a penalty in the match and took to social media to reassure supporters there was nothing to worry about.
Speaking on the difficulties of choosing a first eleven earlier this month, Monk said: “I think in terms of myself when I came in and the Huddersfield game I had to make a decision quite quick on what the team was going to be.
“Of course, there has to be improvements and the players understand that. There has been no problems whatsoever.
“Everyone has a great attitude and everyone knows that everybody is going to be needed. At times, it is part of your job to be patient and be ready when called upon.”