Sheffield Wednesday are preparing for what looks like their most important transfer window in many years.
While much has been made of the club’s struggles off the pitch it’s on it that things need to improve.
The Owls were handed a six-point deduction at the start of the season but this setback was expected to be overcome relatively early in the season.
Little did we know how much of a struggle this term would be.
The Championship is approaching the halfway point and the South Yorkshire side still find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table.
That was not a part of the plan.
Garry Monk was replaced by Tony Pulis in the hot seat but so far the Welshman has struggled to make the sort of impact that was expected of him.
Whether it’s the lack of training time that comes with such a frantic run of fixtures or the lack of players that are capable of thriving under his direct and physical style of play, it just hasn’t clicked so far.
But injuries haven’t helped either.
The big festive Sheffield Wednesday quiz: Can you get 20/20?
One player who has been a notable absentee is Aden Flint.
The central defender suffered a hamstring injury at the start of November which continues to rule him out of action and will do until January at the earliest.
As well as being an experienced head, the 31-year-old is a player who is perfectly suited to life under Tony Pulis and that will make his absence even more frustrating for the manager.
What’s worse is that it’s unclear as to whether he’ll return to Hillsborough.
Flint’s parent club, Cardiff City, hold the option to bring the player back to South Wales once the January transfer window opens and that could leave the Owls very much in the lurch as they look towards a relegation battle in the second half of the season.
This is where Tony Pulis needs to take the bull by the horns.
Cardiff’s intentions remain unclear at this point but for the Owls’ it’s essential that they make it clear just how important Flint will be this term.
Frustratingly for the club it’s the Bluebirds who hold the cards in this situation but with Sheffield Wednesday looking to bring in a handful of signings next month it’s crucial that they get themselves off to the best start possible.
Strengthening the squad will be challenging enough without needing to replace a player who is already key for them.
It’s no secret that Pulis faces a massive challenge to help secure Sheffield Wednesday’s Championship status, but if he can convince Flint to stick around until the end of the season then it’ll surely be a big step in the right direction.