Threadbare Sheffield Wednesday squad at injury breaking point as Garry Monk offers update on Connor Wickham, Kieran Lee and Tom Lees
An already threadbare Sheffield Wednesday squad is ‘on the edge’ with regard to fitness heading further into the chaotic end to the Championship season, admitted Owls boss Garry Monk.
Key man Connor Wickham and Kieran Lee were left out of the squad altogether due to fatigue and goalscorer Jacob Murphy hobbled out of the clash as a patched-up Wednesday side look ahead to a run of four matches in 11 days.
Captain Tom Lees remains injured with a hamstring injury and did not feature. Concerns are also building over the fitness of the likes of Barry Bannan, who has played the vast majority of minutes in their whirlwind five matches since lockdown.
Pressure is mounting mentally as well as physically at Hillsborough, with Wednesday now on a run of three consecutive defeats.
“All the players are on the brink,” Monk told The Star. “I’d like to rotate it a bit more but results dictate that as well. If we’d had the results we felt we deserved or had more points, there possibly can be a bit more ease in terms of what the perception is from the outside, being able to rotate a little bit more, maybe give the youngsters a bit more of a chance, but we’re not in a position to do that.
“We’re having to try keep our best players on the pitch because the results are dictating that, they’re all on the edge. Hopefully it’s not too serious and it proves to be precautionary, we’ll see how he recovers, we’ve got a couple of days and then we’ve got to go again.”
On the fitness of Wickham and Lee, two players that have impressed in the last run of games, Monk said: “We gave them all the way up to yesterday.
"We could see there was no specific injury, they like a lot of the players are right on that ‘red line’, the borderline of injury or not. We have to be very careful with those players.
“With Kieran and Connor’s history as well, they’re right on that red line and are two players that expend a lot of energy. Connor has come back and thrown a lot of energy into it, Kieran plays with a lot of energy and has that history.
“It came down to the reality of losing them for one game rather than the rest of the games. We’re very hopeful they’ll be back for the weekend.
“That’s the plan, we’ll see how they feel, they feel better each day.”
There was good news for Wednesday with the return of Josh Windass from a thigh injury.
Monk made clear last week that a hamstring complaint by Lees had no clinical issue and that his recovery would be self-led.
He said: “The good thing from Tom is that the scan came back clear so that’s good for everyone; him and us, but as I said before we’re now dictated by how he feels.
“We’ll come back in and speak to the physios and see whether he’s ready to train, if he is great, if not we’ll have to take it day by day.”