Steve Agnew on how Sheffield Wednesday’s competition for places ‘keeps everyone on their toes’

Sheffield Wednesday caretaker manager Steve Agnew says he has the luxury of choice when it comes to offensive talent as a number of first team players return to the fold from spells out with injury.

The Owls have had a number of their senior attackers out of action through injury in recent months, but it looks like the squad could be in healthier shape ahead of Steve Bruce’s arrival at Hillsborough.

Owls caretaker pair of Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence. Pic Steve Ellis.

Owls caretaker pair of Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence. Pic Steve Ellis.

Following Steven Fletcher and Atdhe Nuhiu’s impressive displays against Wigan Athletic and Luton as well as Lucas Joao’s return from injury, Agnew believes Wednesday are heading into the latter part of the season in better shape.

Reflecting on Saturday’s 1-0 win over Wigan, he said: "They were good. They are good lads.

“They have the ability to work the defenders and put them under pressure and it was something we asked of them coming off the bench and they maintained that.

“On the turnover, Lucas can be anything. He can skip by people and can play people in. They both had chances and unfortunately they went to the goalkeeper.

"Lucas needs to get a good week of training in him. He trained last week and we thought he was fit enough to come off the bench and I'm sure he will be a touch closer to being a first-team regular when he gets another week under his belt.”

Sheffield Wednesday end their interest in Fulham’s Neeskens Kebano

Joao, who picked up the Championship Goal of the Month award for December, is Wednesday’s top scorer this season with eight goals and one assist in 21 matches. 

Sam Winnall is another long-term absentee who has recently returned to feature for the Owls from the bench and Fernando Forestieri is also in contention to return in time for this weekend’s trip to Chelsea in the FA Cup.

With time still left for Wednesday to add players in the January transfer window, Agnew believes competition is good to keep players hungry.

He said: "We have plenty of options. It's very much competition for places at the top end of the pitch which is always a good thing.

“Competition for places keeps everyone on their toes.”

One striker who will not be joining the competition for places at Hillsborough is Fulham’s Neeskens Kebano, who decided to stay at Craven Cottage to fight for a first team place despite the two clubs reaching an agreement on a loan deal for the player.