In hindsight, Sheffield Wednesday may wish that they had been snowed off on Saturday. The only League One match to take place this weekend resulted in a 2-1 defeat away at Swindon Town for the Owls as they failed to take the opportunity to make up ground on the league leaders.
To add to the pain of the defeat, the visitors lost defender Lewis Buxton to injury early in the second half and he now looks set for a more prolonged spell on the sidelines. Buxton had missed the previous three matches with a hamstring problem and it was something of a surprise to see him return to the starting line up for this one, given that hamstring injuries can be particularly susceptible in cold conditions.
Playing at right back, the former Stoke City player was one of the Owls’ stand-out performers in the first half at the County Ground and he played a pivotal role in Wednesday’s equalising goal.
The half time break may have caused the defender to stiffen up a little, however, and within five minutes of the re-start he was forced out of the game with what appeared to be the same problem. Owls’ boss Alan Irvine revealed after the game that Buxton could now be out of action for 6-8 weeks meaning that he may not return to the side until February.
Wednesday are short on numbers defensively. Jon Otsemobor would be Buxton’s natural replacement at right back but he has been sidelined for the past month or so with a thigh injury and during Buxton’s last spell out of the team left back Tommy Spurr played on the right side with his understudy, Daniel Jones taking the left back slot, giving the side a slightly unbalanced look.
The Owls may well boast one of the strongest starting line-ups in League One but their strength in depth, or lack of it, may well face a stern test over the Christmas period and this could well be something that new owner Milan Mandaric will have to address during the January transfer window if Wednesday are to achieve their target of promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.