Former Sheffield Wednesday player David Prutton has backed the Owls to do well in League One next season despite their current situation as he spoke to the Sheffield Star, with off-the-field worries still hampering them.
After their relegation from the Championship last month, the South Yorkshire side have already lost several key players, with Joost van Aken, Kadeem Harris, Elias Kachunga, Tom Lees, Matt Penney, Moses Odubajo, Joey Pelupessy, Adam Reach, Jordan Rhodes and Keiren Westwood all being released on the expiry of their contracts this summer.
With Liam Shaw moving to Celtic, Osaze Urhoghide on the brink of an exit from Hillsborough, Jack Marriott and Izzy Brown moving on after their loan deals came to an end and Julian Borner initiating arbitration proceedings amid unpaid wages and an imminent move to Germany, this leaves Darren Moore with a very depleted squad going into pre-season.
Quiz: What was the score the last time Sheffield Wednesday played each of these 25 teams?
Although unpaid wages are an issue at Hillsborough, it’s not the reason for their transfer embargo, which they are currently under because of the late filing of their 2019/20 accounts.
This has already put Moore and the club’s recruitment team on the back foot as they look to rebuild ahead of next season. But despite this chaos off the pitch, former Owl and Sky Sports pundit David Prutton believes the player should remain focused on their job at all times.
Speaking to the Sheffield Star, he said: “As ridiculous as this whole circus around them has been in terms of wages, contracts, embargoes, players should only concentrate on that 90 minutes have that goal in mind.
“It can be so demoralising to be in a place that is being run in such a way and can from the outside be seen as a bit of a basket case.
“That’s where the professionalism of being a footballer kicks in, to be in control of what you can be in control of, which is your performance on a matchday. That has to be of paramount importance.”
Prutton also drew comparisons with Hull City who are also having ownership problems of their own but were able to win promotion back to the Championship in April. This has given the 39-year-old real hope that his former side can do something similar next season.
“Look at what Hull City did”, he continued.
“They fell off a cliff in the Championship, they nosedived and there was a fear the next season was going to be a slog and another fight.
“Credit to what they’ve done with young players and players who were already there. It’s been a wonderful achievement. That’s what they need to go for really, I think.
“Between now and that first ball being kicked it could be a completely different team and set-up, a completely different face to it.”
With this transfer embargo in place, Sheffield Wednesday are likely to have missed out on a few of their top targets already, especially those who were available as free agents this summer before another club poached them.
The key now will be getting out of this embargo as quickly as possible with just over a month left to go until their league campaign starts. If they can’t, their squad may look very threadbare come their opening fixture against Charlton Athletic. Nigel Adkins’ side looks strong already – and the Owls won’t want to get off on the wrong foot back in the third tier.
So while the Hull City comparisons will be a cause for much optimism, they will only be able to replicate this achievement if Moore is given time before the start of the 2021/22 season to make a few signings. If they can prepare well though, they have every chance of going back up.