The return of Dominic Iorfa - A welcome face is back as Sheffield Wednesday are made to sweat in the Barnsley heat
It’s not quite Albufeira, but the sun was beating down on a perfectly manicured pitch at Oakwell Training Ground as Sheffield Wednesday took on Barnsley…
While clubs over the years have become known for warm-weather preseason camps around Europe, the pandemic and financial battles of the last 18 months have seen a lot of clubs stay closer to home this season.
The Owls are no different, and – aside from a 10-day trip to Wales – have spent their time within England’s borders as Darren Moore puts them through their paces ahead of what is set to be a tough League One campaign.
And they’ve certainly been worked hard. With double training sessions and distance targets to hit, Wednesday have been getting a sweat on – but that didn’t stop them from starting brightly.
New signings, Jaden Brown, Mide Shodipo and Dennis Adeniran all started for the first time, and a solid start saw Wednesday create three really good chances early doors.
Adeniran connected nicely with Shodipo through the middle, but Jack Walton made himself big and stopped the attacker from opening the scoring, then not long afterwards the Tykes stopper was at it again to deny Julian Börner after Shodipo turned provider.
Then it was over to Josh Windass to go close, but his shot hit the side netting after being forced wide – but it was nice work from the forward as well as Barry Bannan and Callum Paterson to forge the chance in the first place.
Devante Cole had Barnsley’s first chance of the game as he forced an excellent save from Cameron Dawson that was destined for the top corner, but the Owls stopper then had a moment to forget a few minutes later as Jordan Williams’ effort crept underneath him at the near post. He won’t want to see that one again.
After the goal the chances seemed to dry up, but what the game lacked in goals it made up for in drama. It was anything but friendly as tough tackles flew in from both sides, and a bit of colourful language was exchanged.
And it became clear that this friendly was unlike the previous three when Moore left things as they were after the break, not taking the decision to make wholesale changes as he has over the last couple of weeks.
The changes did come on the hour, though. With all but Julian Börner and an unnamed trialist (who came on shortly before) staying on as Moore switched things up completely.
And while things didn’t get much better after the changes in terms of the result, Clarke Oduor doubling their lead, there was a sight for sore eyes as Dominic Iorfa – who wasn’t named on the teamsheet – got himself warmed up and back out on the field for the first time since December when he ruptured his Achilles. Against Barnsley.
There was plenty of encouragement from the Wednesday bench as he finally made his way back onto the field, and he came through unscathed in what’ll be a huge boost for the Owls.
But as with so many preseason friendlies, any spark fizzled out as the game went on, and – for the first time this preseason – Wednesday couldn’t find the back of the net. 2-0 it ended.