Sheffield Wednesday centre-back Chey Dunkley has revealed to The Star that he isn’t travelling to Wigan Athletic tonight to make friends, as he reunites with his former side desperate to win all three points for the Owls.
The 29-year-old was a regular player for the Latics in his three years at the DW Stadium, signing for the club in 2017 on the expiration of his contract at Oxford United and not just being known for his solidity in defence, but also his attacking threat.
He scored seven and six league goals in the 2017/18 and 2019/20 campaigns respectively and was one of the casualties of the Great Manchester side’s administration as he moved on to Sheffield Wednesday on a two-year agreement.
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Then a Championship side, they eventually suffered the same fate as Wigan with relegation to the third tier in May and turmoil off the pitch. However, both sides have another thing in common: they have responded well to their setbacks.
Although it understandably took Wigan longer to get back on their feet, escaping relegation by a single point last term, they have recruited well in the previous window like Wednesday have and have richly benefitted from the summer interval.
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However, they are doing a lot better than the Owls are at this moment in time, with Darren Moore’s side currently sitting in 11th after winning just two points from a possible 12 in their past four league games.
It will be a tall order for the recently-relegated side then to beat tonight’s hosts, who are at the top of League One as things stand.
Despite the emotion of returning to his former home, Chey Dunkley is one man who’s in the zone for tonight’s game and is desperate to win all three points despite expressing his delight for Wigan, saying: “I don’t want to give them too much praise because they’re in our league.
“I’ve got to move on and I’m all about Sheffield Wednesday. We want to win the league.
“It’s good that Wigan are in a good position and have started well. No disrespect to that club but I’ve got to focus on the club where I’m at at the moment and that’s Sheffield Wednesday.
“I have a lot of friends there. When I go down there it’s about focus. I’m not going there to make friends, I want to go down there and get a result.”
This is exactly the sort of mentality that is needed for a potential promotion charge, so Wigan can have no complaints whatsoever about his mindset as he arrives at the DW Stadium tonight, especially with Sheffield Wednesday in a precarious position.
As they face a side sitting top of the table, this is the sort of game that can define a season even with the majority of the campaign still remaining, so anything less than full concentration from all 18 players in the dressing room will be punished.
A late moment of madness prevented the Owls from keeping a clean sheet away at Ipswich Town, so it would be hard to see Darren Moore make a change in defence despite Dunkley’s appearance as a substitute as Portman Road.
With this, he is likely to be on the bench behind Sam Hutchinson and Dominic Iorfa, with Barry Bannan confirmed to be in the squad despite picking up a knock at the weekend.
This potential injury could have paved the way for Hutchinson to be deployed in midfield and Dunkley to take his place at the heart of defence, but he will need to wait patiently for his chance and may get against his former side if the Owls opt for a change in tactics midway through the game.