Sheffield Wednesday prepared to let Sam Winnall leave on loan before the January transfer window closes

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Sheffield Wednesday are open to letting centre-forward Sam Winnall leave on loan before the transfer window shuts, The Star understands.

Winnall has made four substitute appearances since returning to action following a long injury lay-off.

Sheffield Wednesday centre-forward Sam Winnall has made four substitute appearances this season

Sheffield Wednesday centre-forward Sam Winnall has made four substitute appearances this season

But the 28-year-old was not on the bench in Sunday's 3-0 FA Cup fourth round defeat to Premier League Chelsea. The Owls have a plethora of attacking options, including Steven Fletcher, Atdhe Nuhiu, Marco Matias, Fernando Forestieri and Lucas Joao.

It appears Forestieri and Joao have jumped ahead of Winnall in the queue for a starting spot, having recovered from their respective injury problems. Forestieri and Joao featured in the second half at Stamford Bridge.

With Gary Hooper also on the comeback trail, Winnall could find first-team football hard to come by at Hillsborough.

There is unlikely to be a shortage of interest in Winnall, who spent last season on loan at Derby County. Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers have shown interest in him in the past.

Caretaker manager Steve Agnew has not ruled out the possibility of Winnall departing the club on a temporary basis before Thursday's 11pm deadline.

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"It is difficult to say really because we have a number of strikers at the club and, as we have said to Sam, it is a case of training hard which he has done and showing to the manager when he comes through the door what he has to offer," said Agnew.

"If Sam does that, then I'm sure places will be up for grabs. Ultimately, strikers are judged on scoring goals and playing well and we have a number of strikers to choose from."

Explaining why Winnall was not involved against Chelsea, Agnew, who has been holding the fort until Steve Bruce's arrival this week, said: "Sam is fit but I felt he hasn't played as much football as the other boys have through the season.

"I know he has had a cruciate (knee injury) and then a hamstring problem. We just felt that it was an afternoon where the other players and strikers were just ahead of him in terms of general fitness."

Meanwhile, the Owls Under-23s fixture with Nottingham Forest, which was scheduled to take place at Middlewood Road yesterday, was called off due to a frozen pitch. A new date  for the clash will be rearranged.