Sheffield Wednesday: Sam Winnall hopes to retain Owls starting spot for play-offs

Sam Winnall
Sam Winnall

Sam Winnall hopes he has done enough to retain his Wednesday starting spot ahead of the forthcoming Championship play-offs.

The 26-year-old capped his first Owls appearance in over a month in style by calmly opening the scoring in Sunday’s home defeat to Fulham.

Gary Hooper looks set to miss Wednesday’s play-off semi-final tussle with Huddersfield Town due to a hamstring injury, meaning Winnall is in the frame to be involved in Sunday’s first leg at the John Smith’s Stadium.

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Winnall, left out of the matchday squads in the wins over Cardiff City, Queens Park Rangers, Derby County and Ipswich Town, said: “It has been a frustrating time not being in the squad and not playing.

“But the gaffer gave me a chance and I’d like to think that I took it a little bit in scoring a goal and putting in a good shift. Hopefully, that puts me in contention for the play-offs.”

Winnall, recruited from Barnsley last January, said: “My attitude never changes whether I am in the squad or not. I always want to be the best in training and the best on the pitch and that’s the way I am. I always look to improve and get myself back onto the teamsheet.

“I have done everything I can and given my all and hopefully that can put something into the gaffer’s mind.”

He admits it was difficult not being involved.

“It is frustrating for any footballer but for the gaffer that’s what you’d want,” he said. “You wouldn’t want people who are out of the squad to be happy. I wasn’t happy not to be in the squad.

“I am focusing on what I can do and trying to do the best that I can.”

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Defeat to the Cottagers sentenced the Owls to their first loss in eight matches.

Winnall said: “It was a typical end-of-season fixture where both teams were pretty secure and know what they are doing, to be honest. Both teams have qualified for the play-offs and it was enjoyable at times and not enjoyable at others. It was not the result we were looking for, obviously, and we wanted to finish the season on a high.

“But we have got to take into consideration what will hopefully be three massive games coming up.”

The result ensured Wednesday finished fourth in the standings, their highest-placed finish since falling out of the Premier League 17 years ago.

“It has been an excellent season in a league which has been so hard,” stressed Winna.. “There are no easy games in this league and week in, week out, it is a difficult game.

“To show the consistency like we have and finish in fourth place shows the consistency that we have got in the squad and character. Hopefully, that we hold us in good stead for the next few weeks.”

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