Sheffield Wednesday: Darren Moore keen to manage returning Owls players carefully

Darren Moore is optimistic Sheffield Wednesday will be in much better shape in the next couple of weeks as players start to come back from injury.

But the Owls manager has warned that when they do, they will still have to build up their fitness.

Wednesday have had to make good use of their big squad this season with so many injuries having afflicted them over the campaign.

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Striker Lee Gregory returned from a lengthy lay-off on Saturday and Dominic Iorfa made his first start since October 2021 in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Accrington Stanley.

Others are not far behind in being in contention.

“As the weeks go by we’ll start to see one or two get back,” said Moore.

“We’ve got people on the training ground getting good work into them so as the weeks go by we’ll start to see one or two more come back.

“Chey Dunkley was on the bench on Tuesday, Dominic Iorfa started the game which will have done him the world of good. Harlee Dean, Josh Windass and (Nathaniel) Mendez-Laing are back in training.

Sheffield Wednesday's Dominic Iorfa holds off Accrington Stanley's Ethan Hamilton during Tuesday's Hillsborough stalemate. Picture: Steve Ellis

“It’s a matter of time and building their fitness levels up and I would imagine in the next seven to 10 days, providing there’s no ill reaction, we should get them back.”

On centre-back Iorfa’ s impact, Moore said: “Dom steps in and breaks the lines and created overloads to disrupt their man-to-man marking. Our chances came from that.

“The pleasing thing for him was the timing of his headers because usually as a centre-back that’s the first thing to go.”

The flip-side was that Gregory was restricted to half an hour from the bench on Tuesday, with Moore having to be careful not to push players too hard on their returns.

Sheffield Wednesday manager, Darren Moore. Picture: Steve Ellis

“We’ve got to remember a lot of our players have been out a long, long time and it’s difficult getting them 90 minutes because they end up getting strains because their muscles are not to the power they think they are,” he cautioned. “Even though everyone thinks they’re fit, they’re not match-fit because we want them to stay out there.

“With Lee Gregory you can get caught up in being tempted to play him. It’ll be the same with Mendez-Laing, Josh Windass and Harlee Dean, although it’s different for defenders because of the amount of ground they have to cover.”