Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk is set for a welcome boost after the upcoming international break, as Fernando Forestieri is nearing a return to action, according to The Star.
The Argentina-born forward has not featured for the Owls since penning his only assist of the campaign in a 2-1 defeat at home to Queens Park Rangers in August (TransferMarkt), as he has been serving a six-game ban for using racist language in a pre-season friendly at Mansfield Town last summer.
Forestieri was in and out of the Sheffield Wednesday side last season, as various issues meant the former Italy youth international never enjoyed a consistent run of minutes and ended the term having played 27 games across all competitions, scoring six times. (TransferMarkt)
The 29-year-old has again been forced to watch much of the action from the sidelines with his suspension, but is ramping up his bid to be fit to face Cardiff City after the international break, at which point the FA’s ban will have reached its end.
Sheffield Wednesday are aiming to ensure Forestieri will be in a condition where he can face the Bluebirds on October 18th and organised a behind-closed-doors friendly for the Boca Juniors product to feature in on Tuesday.
Chesterfield are claimed to have sent a select XI to Middlewood Road to play an Owls XI, with Monk quoted afterwards as saying that Forestieri featured in some capacity.
“It was just an in-house game, a private game and he got a few minutes there,” Monk said. “It’s important he gets a feel for that out on the pitch now that he’s going to very soon be out of that [ban].
“It’s about getting him out there and improving his conditioning.”
Forestieri had played 146 minutes across the six Championship fixtures on offer to him before the FA’s ruling last month, along with a 14-minute cameo in the Carabao Cup as Sheffield Wednesday beat Rotherham United before dropping out of the competition to Premier League side Everton. (TransferMarkt)
Monk will certainly see Forestieri’s impending return in a positive light, as he will give the Owls chief another key forward option to consider as the Hillsborough natives strive for a more consistent run of form.
The Championship outfit have won just two of their last six fixtures across all competitions, and only their victories over Huddersfield Town and Middlesbrough returned more than a single goal in their favour.
Creativity has also been an issue for Sheffield Wednesday this season, with Massimo Luongo (3.1), Jordan Rhodes (three) and Barry Bannan (2.5) the only men to be averaging more than 1.6 key passes per 90 minutes this season, as per WhoScored data.
Owls fans, how big of a boost will Forestieri’s return be? Let us know in the comments below…
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