While Sheffield Wednesday may have been disappointed not to have claimed the bragging rights from Saturday’s Yorkshire derby with Leeds United, it could be argued that the goalless draw that eventually played out between the two sides was not, in the end, a bad result for the Owls, given the circumstances with regards to one particular player.
Up until the clash with Leeds, summer signing Julian Borner had been an ever-present feature for Wednesday this season, with the centre back quickly establishing himself as a key part of the Owls’ defence.
That would change on Saturday however, when an ankle injury picked up in the warmup meant Borner was a late withdrawal from the side, robbing manager Garry Monk of a key player for a key game.
Given the impact that Borner has had so far this season, the loss of the German centre back on Saturday will have undoubtedly been a concern, and here, we’ve taken a look at three potential knock-on effects from that injury.
A new role for Sam Hutchinson
In the absence of Borner on Saturday, it was not another defender who would take on the German’s role in Wednesday’s backline, but Sam Hutchinson.
Having spent much of the season in a holding midfield role, the 30-year-old was dropped back alongside Dominic Iorfa in the Owls’ backline, where he performed admirably in helping to keep Leeds’ attack at bay across the course of the 90 minutes.
With this likely to have shown Monk the capabilities that Hutchinson has in the centre of defence, you feel the Wednesday manager may well be comfortable calling on him to take up that position again, should he need someone to do so.
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A route back into the side for Tom Lees
While he wasn’t able to take it on Saturday, the injury to Borner could provide a chance for Tom Lees to force his way back into the starting XI.
The Owls skipper has been out of action since the opening month of the season through injury, but a return to action for centre back is now thought to be imminent, which could be useful following Borner’s setback.
If Monk decides that he does not want to rush Borner back to action after this knock, then it would be a good opportunity to bring Lees back into contention, and give him a chance to win his own place back in the side, something he may not otherwise have had, considering the effective partnership struck up at the back by Borner and Dominic Iorfa since his own injury enforced absence.
A new transfer window priority
While they did perform admirably against Leeds on Saturday, there is no escaping the fact that Wednesday’s central defensive pairing was made up of a natural right-back in Iorfa, and a natural midfielder in Hutchinson.
With that in mind, it does seem as though Wednesday are rather light in that area of the pitch, something which may come back to haunt them if either Lees or Borner were to pick up a knock again, which is far from impossible across such a long season.
The propensity for errors is always increased when players are operating out of position, so Wednesday may want to bring in another central defensive option once the window reopens in January, so they are not forced to take the square pegs in round holes approach with the likes of Iorfa and Hutchinson, which could inadvertently cost them as they look to build on this strong start to the season.