Sheffield Wednesday appear set to be without captain Tom Lees for the clash with Stoke City on Tuesday and perhaps even the visit of Leeds United on the weekend.
The central defender has not played for the Owls since picking up an injury in the warm-up ahead of the 2-1 loss to QPR at the end of August, meaning he is yet to feature under manager Garry Monk.
Should Tom Lees replace Dominic Iorfa when fit?
Monk told the Sheffield Star that the date of Lees’ definite return was unknown but he would not be available for the clash with Stoke on Tuesday night.
He said: “Tom won’t be involved against Stoke and possibly not even the weekend. We will see.
“Tom has been out quite a while and the normal protocol that I try and follow is anyone that has been over two weeks has to tick all the boxes and maybe have to play one or two games behind-closed-doors or even a 23s game to really make sure there is going to be no breakdown.”
Lees is not involved with the Wednesday U23s for their game today, so it appears unlikely that he will return in time for the meeting with Yorkshire rivals Leeds on Saturday either.
Lees had been a key player for the Owls prior to picking up the injury, starting the first five Championship games of the season, but his continued absence is not all doom and gloom.
With that in mind, we have highlighted two reasons why it will not be too much of a concern.
Their record without him in recent weeks.
Monk took over at the start of September and has been without Lees for the beginning of his time at the Yorkshire club.
So far, that doesn’t seem to have been an issue, as, under the 39-year-old, Wednesday have picked up 11 points from six games and have climbed to eighth in the Championship–just one point outside the top six.
The Owls have conceded just four times during that run and have kept two clean sheets–indicating that they’re unlikely to miss him too much over the next week or so.
The performances of his replacement.
Dominic Iorfa has stepped up in the absence of Lees and put in some fantastic performances alongside Julian Borner in the centre of defence.
The 24-year-old offers an excellent combination of physicality, athleticism and defensive solidity, as well as providing Wednesday with a real aerial threat in the opposition box.
Iorfa averages the most clearances, the fourth-most tackles, the fifth-most blocks and the fifth-most aerials won per game in the Wednesday squad, according to WhoScored.