Owls squad assessment: Wednesday wingers
No lack of quality but not much in reserve
Owls-mad has been taking a look at the Wednesday squad position by position to assess where the strengths and possible weaknesses are and what the Owls may be looking to do over the summer in order to improve on last seasons consolidation of Championship status.
In terms of wingers/wide midfielders, Wednesday have 2 players that have proved over the course of the last campaign that they can be real assets at this level.
Before picking up a season-ending injury in mid-March Michail Antonio had been Wednesday's most effective attacking player. To that point he had the most outfield appearances, the most assists and the most goals. Antonio's rehabilitation from the groin injury that he sustained against Cardiff is progressing well and he will be hoping to be firing on all cylinders come the start of next season.
Jermaine Johnson started and finished the past campaign in fine style. Teams were finding it hard to contain the combined threat of Johnson and Antonio in the first few games and many were surprised when JJ lost his place in the starting 11 following the arrival of Jay Bothroyd. Johnson continued to make plenty of substitute appearances during the middle stages of the season but following Antonio's injury we was again afforded a starting role and he didn't disappoint, leading the Owls to vital victories during the final months of the campaign.
Having been at Hillsborough since January 2007 JJ is now the Owls current longest serving player. During this time the main criticism levelled at him has been that his final ball or attempt on goal was too often wayward. This opinion was generally an accurate one but last season the Jamaican put this right, finishing in the clubs top 5 in terms of assists and weighing in with 7 goals, the majority of them top quality goals.
The 32-year-old is out of contract this summer but has been offered a new deal and there have been encouraging signs that he will stay at S6.
Despite the quality that Antonio and Johnson possess there is an issue in terms of their back up. Wednesday have no depth at all in terms of wingers. Danny Mayor is the only other player that the Owls have in that position. Mayor made a handful of appearances last season but struggled to make an impression and had a spell on loan at Southend in League Two.
Chris Maguire and Kieran Lee are both capable of playing in a wide role but neither player prefers to play in that position and this would be seen as making ends meet rather than a long-term option.
Dave Jones bolstered his squad last season by bringing in Manchester City youngster Jeremy Helan on loan and the Owls would be well advised to try and encourage him to return to Hillsborough next season or bring in a player of similar ilk.
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