Plymouth Argyle v Sheffield Wednesday - Owls manager Darren Moore planning to ‘recycle’ his injury-ravanged squad

Sheffield Wednesday will be entering into the spirit of the times and doing a bit of recycling at Home Park tonight, as they head into their sixth game in a block of 10 in 31 days.

Bare Bones: Chey Dunkley is currently one of only three fit defenders in the Sheffield Wednesday squad. Picture: Steve Ellis

Beat Plymouth Argyle as they hope to in tonight’s FA Cup first-round replay and the fixture list will get more hectic still, with every weekend and midweek taken up until mid-December.

As well as the FA Cup, the Owls are still in the Football League Trophy, where they will host Hartlepool United on Wednesday, December 1.

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It is the sort of run where you want as few injuries as possible. Wednesday are missing Lee Gregory, Sam Hutchinson, Jack Hunt, Josh Windass, Dominic Iorfa and Lewis Gibson. The only defenders they have fit are Chey Dunkley, Liam Palmer and Ciaran Brennan, recalled from a loan at Notts County.

Stepping up: Owls' Liam Palmer, above, and Ciaran Brennan are the other two defenders at Darren Moore's disposal. Picture: Pic Steve Ellis

Having made their comebacks in the Football League Trophy a week ago, Massimo Luongo was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 League One draw with Gillingham, and fellow midfielder George Byers did not make the matchday squad. Both could freshen up the team but manager Darren Moore’s options are fairly limited.

“We’ve got Massimo and George back but it’ll be the same group of players we recycle,” explained Moore, who was pleased with “80 per cent” of his team’s dominant but winless weekend performance.

“Whether we’re able to change it up much, we’ll have a look at the condition of the group.

“There were one or two nursing knocks on Saturday.”

Forward Windass is back in training and will be an important addition to a squad which has too often failed to turn possession into enough goals, particularly now this season’s top-scorer Gregory has a calf injury. But having not played since a summer hamstring operation it would be foolish to rush him back and his next appearances in blue-and-white stripes are far more likely to be for the under-23s than the first team.

“Josh just needs some volume to his training to get him up to speed,” explained Moore. “We’ll be working with him to get him in a position to try and push him back a bit.

“Having him back will be like a new signing for us but he’s got to be physically right.”

Their last trip to Home Park, a 3-0 league defeat in September, was the exception which proved the rule but the Owls have actually performed better against the better teams this season.

They struggle against teams who come to frustrate them, which Gillingham were able to do at the weekend after taking a 22nd-minute lead from a set piece.

Florian Kamberi, whose third goal in five games earned his team a point that day, is expecting a different approach from Ryan Lowe’s table-topping side.

“I think it will be more of a football game from them so it will be enjoyable but it will be more enjoyable if we drive back home through to the next round,” said the Albania striker, one of those who will have to step up his game in the absence of Gregory and Windass.

“Saturday is gone, now we have to focus on Plymouth. It will not be an easy game because they are also a very good team. They won on Saturday so they will be confident.

“It’s a long trip but that’s not an excuse. We have to win the game and go through to the next round.”

The winners will be away in round two, but the game at the winners of tonight’s game between Notts County and Rochdale will be shown on the main ITV channel on a Sunday lunchtime, as the original meeting between the Owls and the Pilgrims was.

Last six games: Plymouth Argyle WDDWDW; Sheffield Wednesday DWDWDD

Referee: C Sarginson (Staffordshire)

Last time: Plymouth Argyle 3 Sheffield Wednesday 0, September 11, 2021, League One