Sheffield Wednesday v Bristol City - Departing players like Liam Shaw still needed, says stricken Darren Moore
Moore will be missing again at Hillsborough this afternoon having taken a troubling turn for the worse since returning from a bout of Covid-19 at the start of the week. He is suffering from pneumonia and blood clots on his lungs, so will not be on the touchline for the visit of Bristol City.
First-team coach Paul Williams has returned to Middlewood Road after his own bout of coronavirus with under-23 manager Neil Thompson helping the seniors too, but Moore’s influence will still be strong.
Shaw is likely to be involved despite disappointing at home to Swansea City on Tuesday.
Poor displays are nothing new from Sheffield Wednesday players this season – with five matches left they are eight points adrift of Championship safety for a reason – but when they come from a player who has signed a pre-contract agreement with Celtic, it can sit uneasily with supporters.
“Every player in the situation we’re in is needed,” said Moore when asked about Shaw before his latest illness. “Because of the multitude of games in a short period we need to keep that freshness and impetus on the pitch.”
Keiren Westwood is another whose deal is coming to an end – along with Kadeem Harris, Alex Hunt, Sam Hutchinson, Elias Kachunga, Tom Lees, Moses Odubajo, Joey Pelupessy, Matt Penney, Adam Reach, Jordan Rhodes, Osaze Urhoghide and Joost van Aken – but looks sure to start.
The experienced goalkeeper watched highly-contrasting games against Cardiff City and Queens Park Rangers from the bench after a rib injury, but was restored to the team in midweek.
“To get him back in there with his experience, I just thought it was right in terms of Tuesday’s game,” explained Moore.
“Joe (Wildsmith)’s done superbly and we feel we’ve got two goalkeepers competing and we chose to go with Westy.”
Van Aken and Fisayo Dele-Bashiru are starting to put themselves in contention after injury. Van Aken has played in the last two under-23 matches, his first football since injuring his ankle in December, and midfielder Dele-Bashiru, who had not played since February, also played for Thompson’s side against Charlton Athletic on Monday. Chey Dunkley is back in training.
“It’s about getting volume into their training because they’ve been out for a while,” explained Moore. “They got 60 or 70 minutes this week, which is great for them, and if they continue like that we can look at those two as extra bodies.”
The Owls need to win all their remaining matches just to hit the 50-point mark usually seen as bringing Championship safety. Last week Adam Reach said he felt they needed “four or five” wins and favours from elsewhere, but Moore is not committing to a figure.
“I just look at the three points available because the rest of it looks after itself,” he insisted.
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