Sheffield Wednesday star reveals one of the key things the squad will be working on during the international break

Moments after the collective heart of Hillsborough dropped as Ben Wilmot’s injury time header disturbed the back of the Sheffield Wednesday net on Saturday, that dreaded sense of history repeating itself took over.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 10:10 pm
Updated Sunday, 17th November 2019, 1:27 am
Barry Bannan admitted the team are likely to drill down on set plays during the international break

Not just because of the time the Swansea man’s equaliser was recorded – around three minutes later than John Buckley’s suckerpunch winner for Blackburn seven days earlier – but because of the nature of the goal.

It appears that Sheffield Wednesday, christened kings of the aerial ball earlier in the season, may have an issue dealing with opposition set plays.

Certainly when compared with their otherwise sturdy defensive efforts, anyway. Both of Swansea’s goals arrived via dead balls, taking Wednesday’s tally of goals conceded in that manner to eight, or 57% of the 14 they have shipped this campaign.

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It’s not an awful record by any stretch, but it’s one that will have rankled with those inside the Wednesday camp, especially given the time devoted to set pieces by Monk since first step foot into Middlewood Road.

Strong mentality and strong defence were the two principles he sought to instil first and foremost into his new squad. Defending set pieces seemed a good place to start.

Speaking after the late disappointment at Hillsborough on Saturday, midfield talisman Barry Bannan suggested more work would be done to nip the issue in the bud, admitting they had worked on them – both offensively and defensively – just the day before.

“The gaffer is big on set-pieces,” he said. “The early one where Murphy had a shot was one we had worked on yesterday.

“We work hard on set-pieces, both offensively and defensively, although it probably didn’t look like that (against Swansea).

“That’s why it is even more upsetting, because we worked on it the day before. It’s annoying, but you can work on set-pieces every day and it’s not going to guarantee a clean sheets.

“The positive is we have good opportunities ourselves from set-pieces, they are big in this league, and that shows because Swansea got a point from them. They shouldn’t have had any points, but two set-pieces got them a point.”

The Wednesday players returned from a break yesterday and will once again set about working towards Monk’s vision for the side. Any extra work on the training ground will pay off, Bannan said, with the side desperate to go ahead and right the wrongs of late dropped points over the past fortnight.

He said: “We showed grit and determination to get back and get in the lead. We didn’t switch off, it was just a corner, and a mistake, I can’t really explain. It was maybe just a lack of concentration at a set-piece. It was a real sucker punch.

“There’s loads of games left, we know what we are capable of and we have nearly played everybody in this league. We know there is no-one to fear. We have had a good look at everyone and can go into the second half of the season in a positive mind.”