Darren Moore tells Sheffield Wednesday's out-of-contract players to decide their own fates

Darren Moore says Sheffield Wednesday's many out-of-contract players have their fate in their own hands now he has taken charge at Hillsborough.

CLEAN SLATE: Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore
CLEAN SLATE: Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore

Kadeem Harris, Alex Hunt, Sam Hutchinson, Elias Kachunga, Tom Lees, Moses Odubajo, Joey Pelupessy, Matt Penney, Adam Reach, Jordan Rhodes, Osaze Urhoghide, Joost van Aken and Keiren Westwood are out of contract in the summer and although he dodged questions about whether deals remained on the tables for those who were offered them before he arrived as manager on Monday, Moore says all have a “clean slate” when it comes to their futures.

As well as their individual performances, they can also influence the outcome by keeping the Owls in the Championship, making new contracts more affordable and likely. Wednesday go into Saturday's game at Reading seven points adrift of safety with a game in hand.

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“It's really too early for me to signal anything yet so the players will dictate that (who gets offered new contracts),” insisted Moore.

“I came here and I said it's a clean slate and I mean that. Every single player here has the opportunity to impress and continue their contracts and their playing careers with the football club. Performances will determine that. Right now every single player has that opportunity.

“That's what we're trying to do at the moment and where our focus and intentions should be. It shouldn't be any longer than that.

“The players just have to perform. We'll get a good working environment and it gives me a good insight into the players and we'll just go from there. It's in the players' hands in terms of the training and performances. I'm really looking forward to working with them closely and seeing how they adapt and take it forward.

“All these things will manifest itself over the weeks ahead.

“What's gone on before has gone on before. There's a new dynamic in terms of how I work.

“I've got a good group of players but I've got to find the strengths of them and all that takes time but whilst trying to get results and be competitive on the frontline.

“I've just landed here, I'm working extremely hard, the players are working really hard and the message I can give you is over the weeks the players will dictate that with their performance levels and everything else, the commitment, the drive, implementing themselves into the system will be clearly evident. Maybe then we can start looking at things going forward but discussions need to go on.

“It's been a real busy week and things need to settle down so we can find a bit of consistency and continuity.”

Hutchinson, Lees, Penney and Reach were all named in Moore's first XI, for Wednesday's 2-1 defeat to Rotherham United, whilst Harris came off the bench. Westwood missed the game through injury and will do so again at the Madejski Stadium, but could be back before the international break.

Moore is expecting to have the same group of players available for his second game as the first, but although Westwood and Andre Green are making progress on their returns from injury, they are not yet ready to be considered.

“Both players are getting closer but won't be considered for next weekend (when the Owls host Norwich City). Next week is a fuller week (in terms of training sessions, with no midweek match) so we'll consider them more closely then.”

There is no return date yet for midfielder Massimo Luongo who was a key figure for Garry Monk, but was troubled by injury under Tony Pulis and Neil Thompson.

“He's still with the physios but we're hoping to get a bit more information from the sports science guys about when he'll be back out on the grass next week at some point,” said Moore.

“There's one or two on the treatment table it would be nice to have had available but it is what it is. The biggest thing for us is to make sure when we do get them back we want them to stay back.

“Mass is an excellent player and we know that. We've seen signs of what he's brought the team when he has played so when he is back he'll be a wonderful addition to the squad.”

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