This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Sheffield Wednesday will be looking to get back to winning ways in the Championship tomorrow when they head to Elland Road to face league leaders Leeds United.
Having seen his side fail to seal all three points in the second-tier since their clash with Bristol City on December 22nd, it will be intriguing to see whether manager Garry Monk opts to alter his starting eleven this weekend.
The 40-year-old, who was handed over the reins at Hillsborough last September, will be without Steven Fletcher for this particular fixture after the forward suffered a knee injury in last weekend’s triumph over Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup.
The former Sunderland man is now set to be out of action for up to 10 weeks due to the severity of his issue.
Monk may have to turn to the likes of Sam Winnall and Jordan Rhodes for inspiration over the coming months if he is unwilling to sign a forward in the transfer window.
So how big of a blow could Fletcher’s injury be for Wednesday?
“This is undoubtedly a huge blow for the Owls.
“On his day, Fletcher is right up there with the very best strikers in the division so to be without him for such a long time could be really damaging.
“His 12 goals this season has showcased just how good he is at this level, so others really do need to step up now.
“However, I cannot say I have much faith in Atdhe Nuhiu, Rhodes or Winnall stepping up and scoring at the same rate – unless Rhodes rediscovers his form from seven or eight years ago. “
“It is a massive blow.
“Fletcher has been the focal point for everything good that has come from this Owls side over the course of the season, and this injury could strike a significant blow in their ability to find the back of the net.
“They need to get in at least a loan in this January transfer window, as ten weeks is a long time, and at his age it will take Fletcher a while to get back to full fitness for first-team football.
“If Wednesday want a chance at the play-offs then they have to sort this out as soon as possible otherwise the season will slowly start going against them.
“It’s a great opportunity for one of the youngsters to come in and make a name for themselves, but they cannot be relying on that for the next ten weeks of their season.”
“Fletcher being ruled out for the next 10 weeks is a big blow for Sheffield Wednesday as they attempt to maintain their spot within the Championship playoffs during the second half of the season.
“The 32-year-old striker may not be as quick as what he used to be, but he is still a fox in the box and has netted 12 league goals already this season.
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“Sheffield Wednesday will need to try and give one of their other strikers the chance to make a claim for the shirt or delve into the transfer market to try and find somebody who could lead their line.
“The Owls can’t afford to not replace Fletcher, who is likely to be out until the middle of March and will be missing an important part of the season for his side.”
“This is a major blow for Wednesday as Fletcher has been one of their stand-out performers in the Championship this season.
“Currently thriving under the guidance of Monk, the forward will now be forced to watch on from the sidelines for the foreseeable future.
“Fletcher’s absence may result in Wednesday having to strengthen their attacking options this month if the likes of Rhodes, Winnall and Nuhiu fail to step up to the mark.
“Given that the Owls are fighting for a top-six finish this season in the Championship, it will be intriguing to see how they cope without their star forward.”