After winning promotion in dramatic fashion at Wembley, everything was pointing in the right direction for Sheffield Wednesday – the Owls would take to Championship life like a duck to water and push on even further when entering the second tier.
Yet, fast forward to the current situation at Hillsborough, the Yorkshire side find themselves rock bottom of the division with only one win from their opening 16 games.
The good times of Darren Moore instilling belief back into the forlorn Owls is now long gone for the Wednesday faithful, dubiously departing after promotion was secured.
New manager Danny Rohl managed to steer Wednesday to that win recently against Rotherham United, but January can’t come soon enough for the South Yorkshire giants in an attempt to bring fresh blood into the building that can kickstart a monumental run of positive form to somehow survive in the Championship.
Here’s what a predicted Owls XI could look like come January…
GK – Cameron Dawson
Excelling out on loan at Exeter City before being given a first-team berth under the aforementioned Moore last season, Dawson should be retained in goal past January in the starting lineup.
Wednesday’s number 25 has performed admirably in recent weeks in tricky circumstances, unfortunate to concede in a narrow 1-0 defeat to Bristol City away recently. Dawson pulled off seven saves in total as per Sofascore, despite Rob Dickie netting an eventual winner.
CB – Dominic Iorfa
With the Owls since 2019, Iorfa has found the step-up to the Championship difficult alongside his teammates – Iorfa’s defensive frailties on full display in Wednesday’s last match, Millwall leaving Hillsborough as convincing 4-0 victors.
Still, like Dawson behind him, the 6 foot 2 centre-back has shown glimpses of his quality as an imposing defensive option this season. In the 2-0 home win over Rotherham, Iorfa only lost two of his 13 ground and aerial duels as per Sofascore.
CB – Liam Moore
The first area Sheffield Wednesday could strengthen in is at centre-back, with a free agent available in Liam Moore who could do just the trick.
Formerly at Reading before leaving this year, Moore is an experienced EFL defender who has played over 280 games at Championship level.
The Jamaican centre-back was also linked with a move to Hillsborough before a ball was kicked this season in the summer, could the Owls make this deal a reality in January?
CB – D’shion Bernard
Bernard should retain his starting spot even if Rohl potentially adds to the defence, the former Manchester United prospect impressing with the Owls even with Wednesday rooted to the bottom of the division.
The 23-year-old’s performance in a 1-0 defeat at West Brom stood out, clearing the ball eight times in total as per Sofascore to attempt to solidify which was no to avail in the end.
RM – Callum Paterson
Sheffield Wednesday’s versatile number 13 is a useful figure to have around the building at Hillsborough, a reliable presence who chipped in with six goals last campaign including a solitary strike in the League One playoffs.
Playing down the channels under Rohl recently, Paterson’s performance against Rotherham showed off the experienced midfielder’s energy – winning five of his seven ground duels, as per Sofascore.
CM – Josh Onomah
Delving potentially back into the free agent pool of players available, Sheffield Wednesday could recruit a brand-new central midfielder in Josh Onomah who is without a club since leaving Preston North End.
Lacking numbers in the middle of the park – with Jeff Hendrick another body in the building at the moment on loan centrally in reserve – Onomah could offer Wednesday something different and fresh alongside stalwart and Owls captain Barry Bannan.
Formerly of Sheffield Wednesday on loan during 2018/19, the ex Tottenham man could rejoin under Rohl on a permanent deal.
CM – Barry Bannan
The main man last season in League One for the Owls, the dazzling Scotsman has tried his best up against adversity this campaign in the second tier.
Averaging a 7.03 rating over the season so far for his beleaguered side as per Sofascore, the 33-year-old has managed 1.6 key passes per 90 minutes to try and set up the usually toothless attackers to score.
Wearing the captain’s armband, Rohl will continue picking his experienced Scottish midfielder who has the skill set to conjure up individual moments of magic to help his team in dire situations.
LM – Marvin Johnson
Discarded by Xisco Munoz and placed on the periphery at the Owls before Rohl’s arrival onto the scene from Germany, Johnson has returned to the started eleven in recent weeks and should stay there past January.
Helping himself to 11 assists last season in League One, Johnson could morph into a crucial player again down the left-hand side in the Championship when up and running.
CAM – Josh Windass
Rohl will need to get the best out of Playoff Final hero Josh Windass, the likes of Djeidi Gassama poor going forward in his place with Windass a far superior option to start when on song.
Scoring against Barnsley at the death to help his team secure promotion at Wembley, the 29-year-old will hope he can open his Championship account soon if played and can then fire in even more goals after that to mount an Owls great escape – Windass amassing an xG of 2.32 this season as per Sofascore, but is yet to find the back of the net.
CAM – Anthony Musaba
Not covering himself in glory whatsoever after the Millwall humiliation – substituted off after only completing one successful dribble all afternoon via Sofascore – Musaba has shown that he is capable at this level in other matches this season to calm down a grumbling Owls fanbase.
His performance in the 2-0 Rotherham win was paramount to his team coming away with a rare victory, assisting both strikes on the day to gain three points.
He also has a solitary goal to his name, the ex AS Monaco attacker still managing to show glimpses of his raw talent in the midst of a relegation battle.
ST – Paul Glatzel
The bane of Sheffield Wednesday’s Championship experience so far has been their wastefulness in front of goal, only scoring a pitiful seven goals from 16 matches.
Rohl could look to recruit a new striker via the loan market as a result, with young German striker Paul Glatzel a potential player the Owls could swoop in for on loan.
Highly thought of at Liverpool – scoring 21 times for the Reds at U18 level before transitioning into the U23 fold – the 22-year-old could be a perfect addition to add more goals to a blunt Wednesday side and hopefully seal more wins as a result.