Sheffield Wednesday have been hit with a severe blow ahead of the start of next season with the Owls having been handed a 12-point deduction by the EFL, which will take effect immediately at the start of next term.
Garry Monk’s side suffered a frustrating campaign with the Owls having flirted with the prospect of making the top six during the first half of the season, before Sheffield Wednesday then went on a poor run of form to fall down the table and ended up finishing in a frustrating 16th place.
That means there will be a lot of issues that the Owls will need to sort out ahead of next season in order to put themselves in a position where they can recover from the points deduction and at least manage to make them stable in the Championship next term.
Here then, we take a look at THREE of the issues that Monk has to fix at Hillsborough this summer…
Replacing Fletcher’s goals
One of Sheffield Wednesday’s most influential performers last season was Steven Fletcher, who managed to enjoy one of the most prolific campaigns of his career, firing in 13 goals in the English second tier to help the Owls at least manage a mid-table finish.
The Owls had issues in front of goal at times throughout the campaign and when Fletcher was ruled out for a period after he picked up an injury against Brighton in the FA Cup, Sheffield Wednesday struggled to pick up points on a consistent basis – and Monk faced issues getting his side going in the final third.
Now the Owls will need to find a replacement in the summer for Fletcher which will prove to be a challenge given their points deduction, and that means that Monk will have to be very astute in the market to try and find a suitable replacement within the Owls’ budget.
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Replacing the influence of Jacob Murphy
Another major issue that Monk will have to solve in the summer is how to replace the attacking output that Jacob Murphy provided at Hillsborough since he arrived on loan from Newcastle United last summer, with the winger having registered nine goals and four assists for the Owls.
Murphy had a couple of quiet spells where he did not display his best form for the Owls, but during the spells where he was at his best he helped to provide an extra attacking influence in the final third and an ability to drive forwards and get Monk’s side up the pitch.
Like Fletcher, Murphy will be a very challenging player to replace and Monk will have to work hard over the summer to find the right sort of option who can come in and help add some extra need end product in the final third for the Owls.
Sorting out a settled formation and starting line-up
Another major issue that Monk must address is what formation will be the Owls’ strongest and what line-up will be their strongest by the time the next campaign starts, with Sheffield Wednesday needing to get off to a strong start now to pull back the points they will have been deducted.
After the season resumed the Owls did deploy a 3-5-2 formation at times which worked very well in their win at Queens Park Rangers for example, and Monk will now need to decide whether that will be the right formation for his side moving forwards into next term or whether he will go with another system.
Then it will be all about finding the right players to suit that system and then look to work on that during friendlies to help perfect that so that the Owls can get off to a strong start to the campaign