What Sheffield Wednesday must address to turn around their Hillsborough fortunes

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The goals have dried up at Hillsborough.

Sheffield Wednesday have gone almost five and a half hours without finding the back of the net on their own turf.

They have fired three blanks in a row on home soil and their attacking shortcomings were there for all to see in Saturday's frustrating goalless draw with Millwall.

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There was a lack of confidence and quality in the final third. Of the Owls' 15 efforts on goal, only two were on target.

The closest Wednesday came to scoring was when Adam Reach's first half header from Kadeem Harris's cross flashed across the Millwall goal.

But on the balance of play, a draw was a fair result. Neither side did enough to warrant maximum points in a dull encounter.

Given the Owls' wretched recent run of results and second half horror-show at Wigan Athletic, it was perhaps understandable that manager Garry Monk was keen to accentuate the positives after they avoided a fourth consecutive home defeat.

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The point and clean sheet gives Wednesday something to build on ahead of back-to-back away clashes against relegation-threatened Barnsley and Luton Town.

Forward Fernando Forestieri made his long-awaited return to action against MillwallForward Fernando Forestieri made his long-awaited return to action against Millwall
Forward Fernando Forestieri made his long-awaited return to action against Millwall | JPIMedia

Monk praised the attitude and commitment of his players.

But there was precious little cohesion to their attacking play, particularly in the opening 45 minutes.

Reach, recalled to the starting line-up at the expense of Sam Winnall, was utilised in the No 10 position. The versatile midfielder played just behind Atdhe Nuhiu in attack but his creative instincts were stifled by Millwall's well-drilled, stubborn defence.

Reach's positional change and the tweak in formation from a 4-4-2 shape to 4-4-1-1 did not pay off.

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Things only improved in the final half an hour or so following the introduction of attacking duo Fernando Forestieri and Alessio Da Cruz.

Forestieri, back after a long injury lay-off, looked keen to make up for lost time. He was lively and caused the Lions a few problems.

Da Cruz, signed on loan from Serie A side Parma until the end of the campaign, was thrown into the deep end after just two training sessions.

Yet the Dutchman, a quick, direct and forward thinking, made a promising debut.

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Da Cruz made some intelligent runs and linked up well with his new team mates in the 23 minutes he was on the pitch. It is very early days but the Dutchman looks an exciting addition.

Forestieri and Da Cruz added some much-needed excitement and goal threat.

But the reality is no team in the Championship has scored fewer goals (14) at home than the Owls this season.

And Wednesday would have left empty-handed had Millwall substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson not fluffed his lines deep into added on time. Bodvarsson raced through on goal after latching onto a flick on but his attempted lob over Cameron Dawson sailed over the bar, much to the home side's relief.

It was a lucky escape for the Owls but Monk will be praying new forwards Da Cruz, Connor Wickham and Josh Windass can help turn around their Hillsborough goal-scoring woes.

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