Crewe v Sheffield Wednesday: Dejphon Chansiri’s return to UK is good news for Owls

Darren Moore is full of praise for the resilience and adaptability his Sheffield Wednesday players have shown in a defensive injury crisis but for all the help that provides, extra bodies are the real saving grace.

The arrival in England for the first time during the pandemic of Thailand-based owner/chairman Dejphon Chansiri has seen a moving through the gears. Some of it has been very negative – a controversial and clumsy “early bird” season ticket policy many fans interpreted as punishing those unable to buy next season’s tickets before Christmas – but the squad is stronger for it.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Jayden Onen and Kwame Boateng had all spent time on trial until the arrival of Chansiri saw their signings pushed through.

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Mendez-Laing is a winger but fellow free agents Onen and former Bradford City, Harrogate Town, Guiseley, Farsley Celtic, Albion Sports, Goole and Ossett United player Boateng, who joined yesterday, are defenders.

Owls boss Darren Moore. Picture: Steve EllisOwls boss Darren Moore. Picture: Steve Ellis
Owls boss Darren Moore. Picture: Steve Ellis

Moore’s press conference to preview today’s League One trip to Crewe Alexandra was a sign of the times, conducted over Zoom with one reporter dialling in from South Africa, where he is trapped by Covid-19. Such contact is appreciated but nothing beats face-to-face, like Moore has had for the first time with Chansiri lately.

“Our contact has been just as good when he’s been overseas,” insists Moore, “but to have him here physically has been wonderful, really. It’s great we can communicate so we can get to the same point. In terms of making the football club work, everyone’s got their part to play.

“We’re really pleased he’s seen some of the work first-hand.”

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Boateng occasionally trained with the first-team and played four times for the Under-23s after being released by New Saints in the summer. Onen is also with the juniors but Moore sees both as first-team contenders.

Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri.   Picture: Steve EllisOwls chairman Dejphon Chansiri.   Picture: Steve Ellis
Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri. Picture: Steve Ellis

“There’s part of their games we like and parts we don’t,” he says. “With the parts we don’t like, it’s giving them the opportunity of working in a full-time programme and we believe they’ll improve. Both have the ability.”

For the rest it has been a case of digging in. Jack Hunt and Liam Palmer were the only specialist defenders at Portsmouth on Tuesday – Ciaran Brennan is also available today – and Massimo Luongo was sent off but the Owls held out for a clean sheet.

“They showed a will-not-pass attitude,” says Moore. “When we went down to 10 men I didn’t really feel too troubled.

“How we’ve adapted has been excellent, absolutely superb.

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“The individuals we’ve wanted to play in (different) positions have worked on it in training. Players have said to other players it’s not their position but they’ll play it for the team. It’s been great to overhear.

“For every player I see two or three positions and I play them in different positions in small-sided games because I know if the time comes, it won’t be alien to them.”

It is not something anyone with Wednesday at heart wants to keep relying on.

An investigation into the number of muscle injuries has thrown up plenty of data which will shape future training methods and there are plans to sign more players in the January transfer window. Asked about reported interest in Huddersfield Town’s out-of-favour Josh Ruffels, Moore insists he rates the defender but that is as far as it goes now. He raised hope the injured Lewis Gibson may complete his loan from Everton, but there were certainly no promises.

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For all that most fans would rather see the back of him entirely, whilst Chansiri owns the club, the chances of a good January transfer window are much better when he is in South Yorkshire and fully engaged.

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