Sheffield Wednesday: Owls No 1 edges closer to first-team return

Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood is closing in on an Owls return.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 18th January 2016, 3:30 pm
Updated Monday, 18th January 2016, 3:34 pm
Keiren Westwood
Keiren Westwood

A series of injuries have limited Wednesday’s number one to 17 appearances this season.

He has sat-out their last six fixtures because of a groin injury. His last outing came against Wolverhampton Wanderers on December 20.

But the 31-year-old, named the Owls’ player of the season last term, is nearing a first-team comeback.

Head coach Carlos Carvalhal says Westwood failed a fitness test the day before Wednesday’s battling 2-0 Hillsborough win over Leeds United.

Should Westwood win his fitness battle, he could return to action away to Reading this weekend.

Carvalhal said: “Keiren had a test on Friday and was still feeling a little pain.

“We can’t play someone who is feeling a little pain because if he plays, we could lose him for two or three months.

“Keiren is very near to coming back. He is training with the team but he didn’t feel 100 per cent for Leeds so we didn’t to take any risks.”

With Westwood and Joe Wildsmith (back) sidelined, Carvalhal was forced to draft in third-choice shot-stopper Lewis Price versus Leeds. The former Crystal Palace player, making his first start since the end of August, produced an assured performance to help the Owls keep a clean sheet.

Carvalhal said he slept well on Friday night knowing Price would be in between the sticks.

“Lewis was ready to play and worked hard,” he said. “He has supported the work of Keiren, Joe and Cameron [Dawson] all the time. He is an experienced goalkeeper and did well.

“We have four very good goalkeepers. Even if Cameron had played, we would not have had any problems as he is a good goalkeeper.”

Wildsmith faces a spell on the sidelines after sustaining a back problem in Wednesday’s thrilling win over relegation-haunted Bolton Wanderers last week. The academy starlet has leapfrogged Price in the pecking order for a starting spot.

“We don’t know the extent of the problem exactly, but Joe will probably be out for some weeks,” conceded Carvalhal.

Wednesday’s home clash with Burnley has been rearranged for Tuesday, February 2, kick-off 7:45pm.