Sheffield Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay waiting on injured stars

FIFTY FIVE days into his reign at the helm of Sheffield Wednesday and Jos Luhukay is still waiting to see nine senior players in action.

Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay.
Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay.

It is a remarkable state of affairs and indicative of the injury problems that have dogged the Owls this term.

Things are unlikely to improve hugely in the near future, even allowing for Almen Abdi’s nine minute cameo off the bench at Swansea City on Tuesday at least giving the club’s Dutch chief a chance to watch the midfielder in action for the first time.

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Ross Wallace, who has made seven appearances since Luhukay succeeded Carlos Carvalhal on January 5, was this week ruled out for the season due to requiring knee surgery, while Jack Hunt is the latest Wednesday player to be struck by the injury curse after limping out of Tuesday night’s FA Cup exit with a thigh problem.

For Luhukay, it is a massive headache amid a gruelling schedule that will see the recent visits to Millwall and south Wales followed by Saturday’s trek to Bristol City.

“Jack has played a lot of games recently and maybe it is a reaction from all the games he has played,” said the Hillsborough chief about a schedule that brought seven games in February. Wednesday are not expected to welcome any of their absentees back for the trip to Ashton Gate.

Key players such as Gary Hooper, Barry Bannan, Sam Hutchinson, Tom Lees and Fernando Forestieri – all among those yet to appear under Luhukay – were again sorely missed at the Liberty Stadium in a dour tie that only really came to life after the interval.

Wednesday battled hard against Carvalhal’s Premier League side but were unable to capitalise on a couple of promising opportunities in the first half, most notably when Lucas Joao and Jacob Butterfield went close. Jordan Ayew and Nathan Dyer then settled matters with a goal apiece in the second half.

“The first half was in the balance and you could not see who was the better team,” said Luhukay. “We had two or three good chances to score but we did not do so.

“In the second half we did not make the pressure we like to do, Swansea got the goal and we could not come back in the game.

“We tried to reach the next round but we were not playing an easy club. Had we made the first goal, it would have been difficult for Swansea. The first goal was always going to be important.”