Sheffield Wednesday have work to do, and not too long to do it…
It was a friendly, so it’s no train smash, but the defeat shows Sheffield Wednesday have plenty to do…
While most of the country pulled on their England shirts and considered where to have their first drink, Wednesday were beaten 3-1 at Dragon Park in Wales by Scottish giants, Celtic.
The result is no biggy, not really, and Wednesday started off brightly, but it certainly gave Owls boss, Darren Moore, plenty to think about as the first of a flurry of preseason friendlies was called to an end.
Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of positives…
Josh Windass carried on where he left off with a goal – as an ex-Rangers man, he’ll have enjoyed that by the way – and it was great to see Massimo Luongo out in a Wednesday shirt again. It looked like he came out of it unscathed, too.
But more than anything else, it was about getting minutes in legs for Moore, and seeing what does (and doesn’t) work.
In that sense, it served its purpose.
A total of 21 players featured. Some old hands, some youngsters, and some sporting that common surname of the current time of year, Trialist.
With the original XI, Wednesday looked strong enough. Bannan – against the club he supports – was excellent at the heart of the midfield, and was massively missed when he headed off the field midway through the second of three 30 minute sections.
But once the young ‘uns came into the fold, and Celtic did the opposite, the tide started to turn – understandably really – and goals from Owen Moffat and Odsonne Edouard made sure that Albian Ajeti’s equaliser was built upon.
So it’s a loss, yeah, but the chances are that the matchday squad today is going to look a lot different to the one that makes the trip to Charlton Athletic on the opening day of Wednesday’s League One campaign on August 7th.
And it needs to be.
Wednesday have the nucleus of a pretty strong third tier side, but that is reliant on them keeping hold of the Windass’ and Dominic Iorfa’s and so on. New signings are needed if they stay, but more so if they don’t.
It’s important not to read too much into today, but - as Moore will be absolutely aware – it’s also an indicator of what needs doing.
There were two trialists, who may or may not sign, but Wednesday won’t be confident of making a push next season until that transfer embargo is lifted and some more experience heads come in.
Moore will know that, and while nobody wants to lose, he’ll have seen plenty of positives at Dragon Park the the can take forward when making whatever decisions he makes next.
Wednesday won’t play many games against teams as good as Celtic next season, but it was certainly a worthwhile game against UEFA Champions League opposition that can act as a bit of a litmus test.
Wednesday have positions they need to fill, anyone watching today can see that, and with Huddersfield Town less than a month away – it’s time to get cracking.