Sheffield Wednesday have the biggest month of their recent history on the horizon, as Tony Pulis looks to mould his beaten squad into a group capable of escaping the threat of relegation.
It’s been a grim 2020 for the Owls. Their play-off push failed horribly after a positive start at the turn of the year, whilst off-field issues left them facing an uphill battle in the summer.
A 12-point deduction has been halved, but Wednesday’s troubles haven’t. Pulis has replaced Garry Monk and the Owls remain rooted to the foot of the Championship table.
Tuesday night’s 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest left Wednesday seven points adrift of safety and certain to be in the bottom-three at Christmas. Of course, the festive period offers Pulis’ side the chance to pick up points in quick succession, but the new boss at Hillsborough is still awaiting his first win. Your gut feeling is that he needs that to come when 18th placed Coventry City visit on Saturday.
A positive bounce is required heading into 2021 and then a positive transfer window is needed to give this squad a lifeline.
Simply, the group at the minute isn’t good enough to stay up. Pulis needs reinforcements right down the spine of his side to have any chance.
That leads to us looking at Cedric Kipre, who could be the perfect target for the Owls this winter.
Dominic Iorfa has been one of Pulis’ better performers, but he’s out for the season. Tom Lees’ uncertain future looks like it’s impacting his form. Julian Borner and Joost van Aken aren’t quite the solution either. Chey Dunkley has returned now, but the defensive unit at Hillsborough needs work.
In Kipre, you’ve got a centre-back that’s proved to be a man-mountain in the Championship before his switch to West Brom.
74 appearances for Wigan Athletic between 2018 and 2020 saw Kipre develop into one of the Championship’s most commanding centre-backs. His performances, technically, helped keep the Latics in the division in consecutive seasons. However, a point deduction eventually sealed their fate in terms of relegation in the summer of 2020.
His form earned him a move to West Brom, but he’s yet to make his Premier League debut for the Baggies. A change in management might open the door, but even Sam Allardyce will accept that others are ahead of him in the pecking order.
A loan move is surely appealing to West Brom and it should be to Sheffield Wednesday. They are short all over the park, but you build from the back. Kipre’s knowledge of the Championship and ability to perform when things aren’t going your way at the bottom of the division is some trait to have.
He might only be a small part of what needs to be done in January, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be a hugely important part of keeping Wednesday in contention to survive.