Darren Moore provides an update on the fitness of Sheffield Wednesday captain Barry Bannan ahead of Sunderland trip

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY manager Darren Moore has confirmed that he will decide whether talismanic captain Barry Bannan will be involved in Friday night's League One play-off semi-final first leg final against Sunderland later today - having 'wrapped him up in cotton wool' this week due to an injury issue.

Bannan came off late on in Saturday's 4-1 victory against Portsmouth at Hillsborough in front of just under 33,500 fans with a muscle problem, the only downer on a vibrant afternoon for the Owls, whose second leg against the Wearsiders is on Monday night at a sold-out Hillsborough.

The winners will progress to the final at Wembley on May 21.

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Speaking at his own press briefing ahead of tomorrow's tie, Sunderland chief Alex Neil said that he expected Bannan - widely viewed by many managers and pundits as the best player in the division - to play.

Barry Bannan.

He said: “I’m sure Sheffield Wednesday will be cagey and make out like Barry Bannan might not be fit… he’ll be fit.”

Addressing the media at his own pre-match press conference, Moore said: "We'll see today. We are not training until later today, so I can only go by off (how) today goes and then we will know more (later) today.

"We have been looking after and nursing him all week and that has been the situation up until now.

"Obviously, the pre-match (press) before tomorrow's game happens now before tomorrow's game and I can only go by that (and will know later) today.

"He's an experienced individual at the age he is now. The truth of the matter is that I know we are speaking about Baz as a sole entity, but there's a risk with any player when they take the field of play, just as there's a risk with any player who takes part in any training session. Even the ones who are the fittest.

"Whenever a player enters the field of play, there's always a risk. We will wait and see what that is when we come around to it (with Bannan).

"We have wrapped him up in cotton wool and we will have a look at him and see how he is. At this moment in time, it's wait and see.

"But he has been fine. The same chirky Baz as he is always around the place and everything else. But the proof of the pudding is training and if the game has come too close or he is fine; hopefully fine."