Sheffield Wednesday manager left with tough choice after Owls suspension

Callum Paterson has started all of Sheffield Wednesday’s last three games as a wingback, but when the Owls visit Birmingham City there will have to be a change.
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Wednesday’s versatile Scot was shown his fifth yellow card of the season in the 4-0 defeat to Millwall over the weekend, meaning that he will be suspended for the trip to St. Andrews after the international break.

Paterson’s energy and stamina is seen as a big part of the way that Danny Röhl wants to play, his pressing ability a big boost in a style that has become clear since the German took over as manager of the club last month.

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Now, with ‘Pato’ unavailable, the Owls boss has some tough decisions to make – firstly whether to stick with a back three, and secondly on who will make up his backline whether he makes changes or not.

Should he maintain the use of wingbacks then Röhl has three main options…

Pol Valentin

The Spaniard played 90 minutes in both of the manager’s first two games in charge, being used as a right back against Watford and Plymouth Argyle before a switch in formation saw him drop to the bench. Against Millwall he didn’t make the matchday squad at all. He offers a strong attacking output with his speed going forward, but is limited defensively.

Liam Palmer

Wednesday’s long-serving vice-captain hasn’t played a minute of football under Röhl yet, but was back on the bench for the game against the Lions as he looks to try and force his way in after a superb 2022/23 campaign. ‘Palms’ doesn’t have the pace of Valentin, but is a lot stronger in his defensive duties and is also more versatile with regards to various positions if needed.

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Dominic Iorfa

Not many players have played every minute under the new manager, but Iorfa is one of them. He’s been used as a centre back in a back four and a right central defender in a back three, and has arguably been one of the club’s most consistent players this season. Moving him out to wingback – or right back – for that matter, would be a surprise given his performances, but it is an option considering his experience playing there in the past.

The wildcards

Röhl could, of course, go rogue and pick somebody different to take on the position depending on what he sees in training over the international break. Anthony Musaba, though a big threat going forward, could be a wildcard option given his ability to get up the pitch - however his defensive output is certainly limited. Another could be young Joey Phuthi, who is likely to get some time training with the seniors over the next week or so and has shown real promise so far this season. U21s captain, Sean Fusire, has played there at senior level before too, however he missed the youth game against Fleetwood Town on Tuesday due to injury.

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