Sheffield Wednesday's Keiren Westwood out for at least a fortnight as Tony Pulis slams fixture list
The headline change of Pulis's first game as Owls manager, at Preston North End last Saturday, was to hand Westwood is first appearance in just short of a year, but the goalkeeper tore his groin taking a goal-kick in his second match, at Swansea City on Wednesday, and has now been ruled out for at least two weeks.
Managing injuries has been a real theme of recent weeks, with the Championship increasing the number of available substitutes to five from nine to try to helped with a packed schedule, and the Owls are no different.
Dominic Iorfa is at least a week away from returning from the latest in a number of muscle injuries which have plagued him this season. Pulis made it known from the start of his tenure he was uncomfortable with the number of muscle problems within the squad.
Kadeem Harris is back from suspension but Josh Windass is still banned.
“He’s got a grade two tear, so it’ll be a couple of weeks,” said Pulis of Westwood.
“Dom Iorfa is getting closer, we will see over the next seven days. I’m desperate for him to be out there, like I am with them all, but I don’t want to throw them out there and lose them for longer. You have to be very careful with so many games.”
Aden Flint and Jack Marriott are unlikely to play again in 2020, whilst Chey Dunkley is still building up his fitness after joining in the summer with a broken leg. Pulis revealed this week Massimo Luongo had rushed back ahead of schedule after a cartilage operation.
Recovery time is crucial for top-level sportsmen to avoid injury, and a coronavirus-delayed season with few concessions in the fixture list (only FA Cup replays and the second leg of the League Cup semi-finals have been dropped) have reduced that.
Pulis is unhappy his side played away in South Wales 24 hours after Stoke had a midweek home game.
“They’ve got too big an advantage,” said the former Potters manager. “Why play two away games on the bounce when you could even it out by going home and away?
“To get from Sheffield to Swansea and back takes quite a long time. It messes everything up. Yesterday (Thursday) was a recovery day, and today they’re sleeping in.
“It’ll be a lot in the treatment room and doing recovery for tomorrow’s game.”
One thing that could help is to sing a free agent rather than waiting until the transfer window opens in January. Nigerian striker Ahmed Musa has talked down speculation that he could move to Hillsborough, but it is certainly a market Pulis is looking in.
“We’re trying everything behind the scenes to get what we think will help us,” he said. “To try and get players in who haven’t been registered is difficult. Fingers crossed, if we can work the market well and if it’s right then we’ll try and do it.”
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