Sheffield Wednesday need to focus on goals after fortifying defensive platform, says Dominic Iorfa

Sheffield Wednesday's Elias Kachunga breaks free (Picture: Steve Ellis)Sheffield Wednesday's Elias Kachunga breaks free (Picture: Steve Ellis)
Sheffield Wednesday's Elias Kachunga breaks free (Picture: Steve Ellis)
Sheffield Wednesday fans can finally sneak a look at the Championship table this morning.

Nine long weeks after the season kicked off with the Owls marooned at the bottom on minus 12 points – an EFL punishment for breaking the financial fair play rules – things are starting to look a little more positive for Garry Monk’s side.

Saturday’s draw with Millwall – coupled with the midweek win over Bournemouth, and seeing their penalty halved on appeal – means not only are the Owls on positive points, but they are also off the foot of the table, having leapfrogged Derby County.

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Small steps, but for a club which looked like imploding last month after four successive defeats, the shoots of recovery are starting to take.

Battle scared Owls' Julian Borner. (Picture: Steve Ellis)Battle scared Owls' Julian Borner. (Picture: Steve Ellis)
Battle scared Owls' Julian Borner. (Picture: Steve Ellis)

“It was a bit of relief,” said defender Dominic Iorfa, on the Owls reclaiming six points on appeal.

“It’s good news for the club because the whole season we have been playing catch-up.

“At least now we are in the mix. Now, as long as we win games, we can climb up the table.

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“We have been bottom the entire season, but now we are in and amongst it, in touching distance of other teams.

Dominic Iorfa.  (Picture: Steve Ellis)Dominic Iorfa.  (Picture: Steve Ellis)
Dominic Iorfa. (Picture: Steve Ellis)

“It’s been a good week for the players, and the club.

“We go into the international break with everyone on a high, we are heading in the right direction.

“The break is needed, because the games have been tough, and we can really attack the league.

“As players we talk every week, setting our own targets, but now we are in the pack – second bottom now – the next aim is to try and catch the teams above.”

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If Wednesday had taken just one of the many chances they created against Millwall, victory would have seen them actually climb out of the bottom three.

But this Owls side are simply not ruthless in front of goal. Just six goals in 11 Championship games is a worrying statistic.

And of those six, two were penalties and one was an own goal.

When former strikers Lucas Joao (nine) and Steven Fletcher (four) are riding high in the scoring charts, it highlights the lack of goal threat in this current Owls squad.

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Summer signings Josh Windass, Jack Marriott and Callum Patterson have scored just twice between them for Wednesday in the Championship this season.

Elias Kachunga set the tone early on. The Owls forward won the ball in midfield to race through on Bart Bialkowski’s goal, but failed to find the target from 20 yards.

Windass was next to try his luck, after seizing on an interception, but Bialkowski palmed away his effort at his near post.

Millwall had their chances, but Scott Malone and Matt Smith were off-target with headers.

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Bialkowski was not to be beaten, though, as the Lions goalkeeper thwarted Adam Reach (twice), Joey Pelupessy and substitute Jack Marriott in the second half.

“We haven’t scored enough goals,” admitted Iorfa. “But the main thing is we are creating chances.

“We know with the players we have got, we should be tucking them away.

“Six goals in 11 games is not enough. But from the last two games, there are a lot of positives to take.

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“We are playing good football, creating chances, and not conceding.

“Our defence has been good, clean sheets are something we have looked to target.

“Thankfully, the last two games, we have been really strong at the back.

“Joe (Wildsmith) hasn’t really had much to do. It’s definitely a boost for us.

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“Going into this week, we would have taken that (four points).

“We got a good result against Bournemouth, and today it was tough. On another day, we win the game, we had the better chances but just weren’t clinical enough.

“The way the game panned out, and the chances we created, you are disappointed.

“But that’s just the standards we are setting.

“Four points from two games is not bad, but the standards we have set, we would like to get more.”

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Back-to-back clean sheets is impressive, considering Monk has been forced to continually juggle his back three due to injures and suspensions.

Summer signing Chey Dunkley has yet to start this season due to injury, Aden Flint is sidelined until the New Year after an operation, while Tom Lees missed the last three games due to a one-game ban – for his red card at Rotherham United – and his wife going into labour.

Dutch defender Joost van Aken, having served a three-match suspension, returned on Saturday to line-up alongside Iorfa and Julian Borner, as wing-back Kadeem Harris started a three-match ban of his own after being sent off against Bournemouth.

For German defender Borner, left out of the team at the start of the campaign, it has been a welcome return and he has grasped his chance.

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“He’s been really good, but it’s nothing that I didn’t expect,” said Iorfa.

“I saw last season how good he is, and can be, and maybe the first few games (this season) being out of the team he was low on confidence. But the last few games, you can see how good he is and how well he has performed. Long may it continue.”

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