Sheffield Wednesday are having to manage the minutes Chey Dunkley plays carefully, despite the fact that the centre-back has returned to training this week.
Dunkley was signed by Wednesday back in the summer, but he arrived from Wigan after a nasty leg-break last season when playing for Wigan Athletic.
He missed the opening 17 fixtures of the season but returned shortly before Christmas to play over an hour in a defeat to Barnsley.
On the back of that there were 90 minutes in four consecutive fixtures over the festive period as Wednesday collected a key seven points from the period around Tony Pulis’ sacking.
However, Dunkley hasn’t featured in Wednesday last three league fixtures and has not played at all in 2021.
Neil Thompson, who remains in caretaker charge of the Owls, has been discussing the fitness of 28-year-old defender, detailing why Wednesday need to manage him carefully despite a return to training ahead of this evening’s meeting with Bournemouth.
As per Yorkshire Live, he said: “Chey will be training again which is good. We’ve got to be careful with him because we want him for the long-term.
“We will see how the lads are because there will be a lot of sore legs and tired bodies.
“The ones that have not played will have a good training session and they have got to be ready.”
Quiz: Who has done more of these 15 things out of Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United?
Wednesday head into a tough midweek fixture looking to claw their way back to safety in the Championship.
Currently, they sit 23rd in the table, four points adrift of safety.
Thompson is in a tough situation with Dunkley in that he needs him in the long-term, but also the short-term.
The centre-back could be huge for Wednesday going forwards as they look to fight off relegation and Thompson cannot afford to risk him missing a large chunk of the remainder of the season.
However, you’ve also got to note that Dunkley can help towards Wednesday continuing a decent spell of form in the short-term.
It’s a decision that needs careful consideration, with the hope that Wednesday get it right with regard to the player’s fitness and fulfilling their own needs.
Thoughts? Let us know!