Xisco rejects view some Sheffield Wednesday promotion-winners have been cast aside

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Sheffield Wednesday manager Xisco has rejected the notion that members of the club’s promotion-winning squad have been cast aside in his search for on-field answers.

Only Leeds United and Stoke City have used more players than Wednesday’s 25 this season, with changes coming and going throughout the early stages of the campaign in his search for a first league win.

In their last two outings, eight of the club’s 11 new faces have made the starting line-up, with Momo Diaby unavailable through injury. Barry Bannan, Lee Gregory and Akin Famewo have been regulars.

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Speaking ahead of this evening’s welcoming of Sunderland, the Spaniard bristled at a query around whether he intended to go forward with a newer-look side, with the core of the play-off winning side having watched on from the sidelines in recent weeks.

“Which players are out of the squad?” he said, offering a facial expression of frustrated confusion before being offered the names Michael Ihiekwe, Reece James, Will Vaulks and Michael Smith.

Of the quartet, only Smith has started any of the strugglers’ last three matches - and was substituted at half-time of their home defeat to Ipswich Town.

Like the rest of the confidence-hit squad, they too have struggled for consistency in form.

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“We can only play 11 players,” Xisco continued. “Ihiekwe has played, James played a short time but has played games. I don’t understand your question.

“It’s only Mallik (Wilks) who hasn’t played because he was injured in pre-season. Everybody has had the opportunity in the cup, some in the league and also in pre-season. Everybody has had a chance.”

Xisco has previously spoken of the step-up in standard and in playing style from League One to the Championship.

Asked whether he intends to move forward with the absent players in his plans, he said: “Of course.

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“It is one of the things, everybody moving forward. It’s not just the new players that have come in this season, everybody is moving forward.

“I am very happy with everyone. We need to know the rules, we can only play 11 and have 20 in the squad.

“I am one of the managers that has used the most players in the Championship. You ask me this question? I don’t understand.”

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