Garry Monk hopes to unleash a “devastating” Fernando Forestieri on the Championship.
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The Sheffield Wednesday striker has just completed a six-game Football Association ban for allegedly using racist language in a pre-season game last year.
His last outing was in August – meaning he is yet to feature under Monk at Wednesday – so tomorrow’s trip to Cardiff City is the first chance for the 29-year-old Argentinian to impress his new Hillsborough boss.
Forestieri has undergone a ‘mini pre-season’ while sidelined, but impressed – and scored – for the Under-23s in their midweek 5-1 win over Hull City.
“From what I have seen of Fernando, his attitude has been good,” said Monk.
“He has trained really well and worked really hard and he is available. Those are the steps you need to take and that is all you can do at this point.
“If he does get an opportunity on the pitch, it is to take that next step up and show all of us the Fernando that we know can be devastating at this level.
“That is what he needs to do and do it consistently. That is the key and the same for every player.
“Like anyone else, he will have game time and play in games.
“It is his job to try and deliver and get back to the levels that we all know he is capable of.
“I am delighted he is available. We all know the quality he has and we want him to step up and show that.
“From what I have seen of him, he seems in the right frame of mind to try and do that but it is another thing being able to go out on the pitch and do it.
“We are here to help him and support him.
“He will be available and like all the others it is for him to fight for that shirt and put himself in the team.”
Victory in Wales tomorrow would see the Owls go top of the Championship – with their rivals playing 24 hours later – but Monk has played down the importance of league position.
“I don’t think league placings are really important right now,” said Monk, who is without captain Tom Lees (hamstring).
“It doesn’t mean a thing. Forget league placings; that is for everybody else to talk about.
“It is great to be in a healthy position and, of course, you are aware of it, but it means nothing at this moment.”