Sheffield Wednesday: Role play enables Owls to prove strength in depth

AMID the hard grind of the winter months, good squads can come into their own – just ask Sheffield Wednesday.

ON TARGET: Sheffield Wednesday's goalscorers in the win over Morecambe - George Byers and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing    Picture: Steve Ellis
ON TARGET: Sheffield Wednesday's goalscorers in the win over Morecambe - George Byers and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing Picture: Steve Ellis

The Owls have had plenty thrown at them this season on the injury front – and continue to. But they are keeping their show on the road by virtue of some wonderfully consistent home form, with Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Morecambe extending their unbeaten sequence to nine League One matches.

Wednesday have already taken more points on home soil than last season – with 10 games still to go and their latest victory saw the supporting cast step up.

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None moreso than midfielder George Byers, who cast aside some frustration this term with a magnificent first league goal for the club.

SPECIAL STRIKE: George Byers hits home a stunning goal in Tuesday's win over Moercambe. Picture: Steve Ellis

The club’s second scorer in Nathaniel Mendez Laing, a player starting to make his mark in his career again, is also stepping up.

Ultimately teams and individuals might win you games, but squads are needed over the course of the piece to secure play-off participation and, ultimately, promotion.

Without the presence of manager Darren Moore who tested positive for Covid, Wednesday lost Harlee Dean, Fisayo Dele-Bashiru and later Josh Windass to injury against Morecambe to add to their injury count.

But it did not overly trouble them, testament to their squad resources.

Byers said: “They were a little distraction, but everyone knows their role and is ready for when they have to play.

“I thought the boys that came on were ready and slotted into the system and did not look out of place.

“Palms (Liam Palmer) is a very experienced player and has been different class all season and hats off to him for being ready and on the bench, the boys are ready to come on and play.

“This is the best I have felt all season and I am ready to get a volume of games and I am over the moon with 90 minutes. I have taken my opportunity and hopefully I can stay in the team now.”

Byers’ sweet strike from distance, which arrowed into the net in front of the Kop, arrived at a timely juncture on the restart for Wednesday and the 25-year-old admits it is probably the best goal of his career to date.

He commented: “I just said to the boys that I couldn’t really remember it, to be honest. Baz (Bannan) gave me the ball and I knew I had to take a shot.

“I got myself in a few good positions in the first half and couldn’t get the ball. But once I got the ball, I knew I was going to shoot straight away and I was just buzzing that it went in and happy.

“I probably have not scored a better goal, if I am honest and I am delighted we got the win and a clean sheet.

“We knew we would have to be on it and stay patient and once the goal came, I thought they got back into the game quite well and put us under a lot of pressure for about 20 minutes but we defended really well and stuck together.”