Who Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk should drop for the Owls' forthcoming clash with Swansea City

As Garry Monk prepares to face his former club Swansea City, the Sheffield Wednesday chief has a big selection headache on his hands.

Monday, 4th November 2019, 10:22 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 10:28 am

Jacob Murphy scored and produced a bright cameo after coming on as a late replacement for the ineffectual Adam Reach in Saturday's heartbreaking defeat to Blackburn Rovers.

Pacy wide man Murphy has struggled to hold down a regular starting spot since arriving on loan from Newcastle United but his poacher's finish at Ewood Park could finally kick-start his season.

Murphy was only on the pitch 20 minutes and touched the ball 16 times, only seven fewer than what Reach had in 70.

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Yes, Reach was starved of possession on the right hand side of Wednesday's cautious 4-5-1 formation. His team-mates did not give him enough of the ball to run at Blackburn's brittle defence and make things happen.

Yet Reach's flashes of brilliance have been few and far between for the Owls this season. He looks a shadow of the player who lit up the Championship with a string of spectacular goals in the early months of the 2018/19 campaign.

"It wasn't quite my game (against Blackburn)," Reach told The Star. "It didn't come down my side too often and there were a lot of second balls and I couldn't get into the game.

"But that's what it's like, if you've got Murph [Jacob Murphy] on the bench or if Murphy starts with Kads [Kadeem Harris], between the three of us we have got three wingers and if he (the manager) feels he's got to change it, that's his decision to do that.

"I wasn't happy with the decision but I was OK with it and Jacob came on with fresh legs and got a goal so it was a good decision. When you've got good wingers sitting on your bench, you have got to use them."

So far Reach has featured in every league match, making 14 starts and one substitute appearance. Although his form has been inconsistent, he is the Owls' joint leading assist maker along with Barry Bannan (3) and has contributed one goal.

On competition for places, Reach said: "It's good for all three of us. We are always pushing each other and we know that only two of us will start usually.

"It's me and Kads usually but Murph has come on and made a difference. Whoever plays on Saturday needs to be right at it because there is that competition."

Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Adam Reach

It is impossible to criticise Reach's work ethic. The effort and commitment to the cause is there but, for whatever reason, he has struggled to hit top gear.

The harsh reality is the 26-year-old would probably have been benched weeks ago if Murphy had shown more glimpses of his quality or Wednesday had other genuine options in the wide areas.

But Reach has retained his place in the side and his performances have not noticeably improved.

It leaves Monk with a big call to make ahead of Saturday's crunch clash with the third-placed Swans.

Does Monk continue to persevere with Reach or leave him out?

Reach has been given plenty of chances to rediscover his best form and not taken them so now feels the right time to give him a little breather and see what someone else can do in the wing role.