Use of Michael Smith showed big bonus options Sheffield Wednesday now have with more transfers to come
There’s only so much that can truly be read into a July pre-season run-out against non-league opposition.
But there were momentary patterns of play in Sheffield Wednesday’s goalless draw at Alfreton Town that showed glimpses of what, perhaps, Darren Moore and the club are trying to put together in the final third.
Again, little can be gleaned from glorified 45-minute kickabouts from each individual as Wednesday kept to a well-trodded pre-season trope of changing the entire outfield side for the second half.
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But it was hugely positive to see three of Wednesday five new signings in blue and white, always something of a marker for supporters as the season creeps closer.
Two of those were defenders; Michael Ihiekwe and Ben Heneghan, who combined with eye-catching youngster Paulo Aguas to help shut out the hard-working home side in the second half.
But it was the use of new striker Michael Smith up top that saw the most obvious tweak and showed the options Darren Moore and his coaching staff will have in terms of their attacking approach this season.
In the first half, star man Lee Gregory played alongside Sylla Sow and did what he tends to do best by dropping in deep with intelligent timing and bringing players into the game around him. Sow played off the shoulder and looked to run in behind, an approach that presented a couple of unpunished chances.
But in bringing on former Rotherham United man Smith, all six-foot-plenty of him, alongside handful Callum Paterson, the pair stayed higher up the pitch as a duo, creating space for Josh Windass to operate in the spaces between midfield and attack and occasionally join a three-man attack.
Wednesday didn’t ‘go long’ in that second period, but their change in approach asked a different set of questions of the Alfreton defence and highlighted the range of options the side have in tweaking their attacking weaponry.
Moore will continue in his mission to add more firepower in the coming days and weeks – Mallik Wilks is among the names the club are interested in bringing in – which will further extend the options available to the boss.