Sheffield Wednesday in more than one safe pair of hands

Sound return: Owls goalkeeper Keiren Westwood with Sam Hutchinson.Sound return: Owls goalkeeper Keiren Westwood with Sam Hutchinson.
Sound return: Owls goalkeeper Keiren Westwood with Sam Hutchinson.
Sheffield Wednesday’s goalkeepers have given Garry Monk food for thought, and the Owls manager is delighted.

First-choice Keiren Westwood missed the games against Cardiff City and Stoke City with an ankle injury and his deputy, 24-year-old Cameron Dawson, performed well in his absence, only beaten by Cardiff’s Lee Tomlin.

If Dawson was feeling hard done-by when he was dropped for Saturday’s visit of Leeds United, Westwood justified the decision with an outstanding stop to keep out Patrick Bamford’s header at the end of the first half.

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“It was a fantastic save,” said Monk. “Cameron did one right at the very end against Stoke, very similar in terms of that reflex. It was a difficult decision (to pick Westwood). I’m not going to make any bones about it, but that’s what the squad’s there for.

“You have to pick a team, that’s my job. That was a tough call but Westy did fantastically. It’s another clean sheet, a deserved clean sheet, even though we had a couple of situations where we had to suffer.

“I think overall the minimum we deserved was a point. If any team deserved to win, it was us. We dominated all the offensive actions and defensively we were the most consistent team.”

The Owls’ defensive record is the second best in the Championship, with only Leeds conceding fewer goals this season.

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If there was a complaint at the weekend, it was that they failed to take their chances. Steven Fletcher hit the crossbar and Whites goalkeeper Kiko Casilla pulled off a number of impressive saves.

Monk, though, was unconcerned about the finishing. “You want to be clincal, of course you do, but I can’t pin that on anyone. We were very unlucky.

“Fletcher... how that’s not gone in and the other chances we created with Reachy (Adam Reach) and stuff like that, I just thought it was a very good performance. The key is if you keep performing like that you’ll be able to win games, dominate games and be in a position where you regularly take points. We’ve been in a position where we regularly take points whilst we’re still growing.

“We were playing against a team that’s in their second season under Marcelo Bielsa and we’ve been together for eight weeks. The way the players went about it, you would have thought it was the other way around.”