The key quotes from Darren Moore's post-Accrington Stanley press conference
Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore explained some of the decisions behind his rotation, as his side drew 1-1 with Accrington Stanley.

After a sluggish first-half performance, Callum Paterson put the Owls into the lead after the hour mark. But they failed to hold onto three points as Bailey Peacock-Farrell's save from Ross Sykes’ header deflected in off the body of Marvin Johnson to steal a late draw for Stanley.

And Owls boss Moore was left scratching his head over an indifferent performance to the one his side produced during Saturday’s 6-0 victory over Cambridge United.

“Saturday was a resounding victory with goals coming from all angles, but tonight we came up against opponents, who are fighting for their lives in terms of the expectations of playing here at Hillsborough and playing like their lives depended on it,” he said.

“I have no problems with the players because they showed that tonight against difficult opposition, we created chances and they showed a fighting spirit with it being a different type of game to Saturday.

“I was disappointed with the lapse of concentration at the end. Our defending was good, and I don’t remember too many of their chances which is a testament to our team, but to concede that goal is disappointing, but we need to move on.

“We weren’t fluent, but I still look at the team and think that we created enough chances to win the game and win it by more than one goal, but we didn’t.

“When you’re winning by just the one goal, the main thing is to stay concentrated and just right at the end we lost that with the goal.

“I want the expectation levels to be high and want them to be. I think what everybody has seen today is what football is: it is so unpredictable.”

The three changes for Wednesday

It was announced at 18:45 that the Owls had made three changes from their previous game, with Liam Palmer, Dominic Iorfa, and Paterson replacing Jack Hunt, Lewis Gibson, and Lee Gregory.

These changes seemed to stunt the momentum built from the weekend, as Wednesday lost their fluidity.

The 47-year-old explained the reasons behind the changes, firstly discussing defender Gibson, who has picked up a ‘niggle’.

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He said: “It is too early to say with him, but Lewis picked up a knock and was unavailable tonight but in the next 24-48 hours we will hopefully find out what is wrong with him and what the extent of the injury is.

"No, we don’t think so [similar injury to before], we just think that with him coming back and being off for some time and then playing games that sometimes you can pick up little niggles and it is only a niggle really, but I didn’t want to risk him tonight because he was feeling a little sore.”

Hunt was also rested from the start, but he was forced onto the field after Palmer picked up a knock just before the interval.

The wing-back made a great impact, as he got the assist for the opener and enjoyed much freedom down the right-hand side.

“He [Palmer] picked something up tonight; probably something down in his calf, so again we will assess him in the next 24-48 hours and see what the extent of that is and hopefully, it is nothing too serious," Moore stressed.

“I thought he [Hunt] was excellent when he came on; he looked good.

“Losing Palms [Palmer] on that side was difficult because he was put in because of his drive to maintain that power and speed down the right-hand side and deal with the aerial threat they had and he is our fifth marker, so tactically he was brought in for the set-plays and we have that in our team to change it around.

“He took a strain and Jack came on and played wonderfully; he almost scored a goal himself and it was a good second half by him. But the pleasing thing for me is that whoever we bring in is expected to perform and I keep reiterating that I don’t care what the eleven who play are, they are expected to perform for Sheffield Wednesday and that goes to the whole squad.”

And finally, Moore clarified that the exclusion of Gregory from the starting XI was purely down to managing his match fitness after an extended period out.

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Moore added: “Lee Gregory is another that is coming back from a six-week injury lay-off and with the magnitude of a three-game week, we have had to manage his fitness.

“When these players who have been out for a lengthy period come back, we have to manage them in terms of that and what has happened tonight is that he has had 30 minutes tonight after having 60 minutes on Saturday, so all of this helps him get back to full fitness and where we want him to be.

“What we must remember is that a lot of our players have been out for a long, long time and it is difficult when the games are coming like they are then giving them a full 90 minutes is straining them.

“What people have seen with Lee Gregory and with him being our number nine is that you can get caught up with him playing and the more time he is getting, the nearer he is getting to playing 90 minutes and the same will be done with the others.

“What we are trying to do is to get those muscle groups working and that is a big thing. It is important that when players do come back then we aren’t putting too much pressure on them and that’s why everyone has their part to play.

“We thought with starting him and giving him 60 minutes on Saturday to starting him today would have been too much and within a few days, he will be expected to go again.

“Our job is that when people come back then they are back, and I don’t want to lose more people and keep the squad together really.”

Dominic Iorfa’s return

Centre-half Iorfa returned to the starting XI for the first time in 143 days after a lengthy spell on the treatment table.

It was a welcomed arrival, with Iorfa putting in a solid display on the right of a back three, where Owls’ fans saw his deep, pillaging runs forward and intelligent defending. 

“He steps in and breaks the lines and he’s happy to do that because he is creating overloads which forced them in their man-on-man marking and it created the overloads and that’s where our chances came from when we stepped in,” he said.

“The pleasing thing for him was the timing of his headers; usually when a centre-back comes back, the first thing to go is the timing of his defending and I thought it was good today.

“It was great to have him back and you could see that with his game today.

“As the weeks go by now, we will start to see one or two get back and we have people on the training ground now and get some good minutes into them.

Chey Dunkley was on the bench tonight and Dom Iorfa started the game, and it has done him the world of good, so those two are back.

“We also have Harlee Dean back in training, Josh [Windass] back in training, and [Nathaniel] Mendez-Laing back in training, so it is just a matter of time in building their fitness levels up and hopefully, in the next seven-to-ten days, providing we no ill-reaction from them, they too will be back.”

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