Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk has confirmed that striker Steven Fletcher is facing between eight and ten weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Fletcher was stretchered off ten minutes into the second half of Wednesday’s FA Cup third-round victory over Brighton over Brighton on Saturday, and the full extent of that injury has now come to light.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Owl’s Yorkshire derby with Leeds United this weekend, Monk revealed that Fletcher is facing a significant amount of time out of action as a result of that injury.
💬 GM: Steven Fletcher has had his scan and it’s good and bad news. Structurally the knee is fine but he will be out for a significant period of time, we’re looking at 8-10 weeks #swfcLIVE
— Sheffield Wednesday (@swfc) January 9, 2020
Losing any player for such a length of time will inevitably have its impact on a club, with Fletcher’s importance to Wednesday meaning this could be a particularly heavy blow for Monk’s side.
Here, we take a look at three knock-on effects this setback suffered by Fletcher will have on the club going forward.
A big loss of firepower
You only have to look at the stats to see just how bad a time this setback has come at, both for Fletcher and Wednesday.
With 12 league goals to his name already this season, was well on his way to beating his personal best league return in a season, which currently stands at 13 with Hibernian from way back in the 2007/08 campaign.
Not only has this come at a moment when Fletcher was seemingly in some of the best form of his career, but also when his side apparently needed someone with that sort of goalscoring touch, with Wednesday’s next highest league goalscorer this season, Kadeem Harris, registering just three goals so far this season, which suggests the Owls may now find themselves struggling for goals in the coming weeks.
With so many fixtures to come between now and the time when Fletcher is expected to return, that could have big ramifications for their hopes of reaching the play-offs this season.
It could offer a chance for someone else
In the absence of Fletcher, Monk will now have to turn to one of the other options in his squad in a bid to keep the goals flowing in the coming weeks.
The likes of Sam Winnall, Jordan Rhodes and Atdhe Nuhiu have all found themselves in and out of the side alongside Fletcher this season, and one or two of this trio could now see this as an opportunity to nail down of these starting spots with Fletcher out of the side for some time to come.
In Winnall’s case, this could even be an opportunity to secure his future at the club, with his current contract at Hillsborough set to expire at the end of the season.
It could force them into the transfer market
One small benefit – if you can call it that – of this setback suffered by Fletcher for Wednesday, is the timing of it.
With Fletcher’s spell on the sidelines being confirmed while still relatively early in January, it does at least allow Wednesday the chance to enter into the market to recruit a replacement for the Scot, should they feel the need to do so.
Given the fact that Fletcher’s injury is unlikely to keep him out until the end of the season, and the current off-the-pitch scrutiny the club are under from the EFL, you imagine any move for cover for Fletcher Wednesday do make would be a loan one, although even that could give the Owls the chance to unearth a gem.