Wasteful, experiments, Mallik Wilks’ sense of timing and Sheffield Wednesday talking points

Profligacy a concern

Wednesday registered a whopping 44 shots combined in this game and the midweek draw with Cheltenham. But the fact that all those attempts yielded just three goals will be of great concern to Moore.

After Michael Smith opened the scoring on 12 minutes you sensed it could be the start of a glut of goals for the Owls. Alas it wasn’t to be. Lincoln levelled up proceedings and then firmly shut the door despite the hosts’ best efforts.

When asked about the lack of return from such a large number of efforts on goal, Moore told Yorkshire Live: “In stoppage time at Cheltenham we had three chances to win it. Today, again, we had many chances to win. It just wasn’t to be. If teams are going to come here and frustrate us, we have to react. We were attacking and attacking today. I said to the lads we need to maintain focus, go again and reset.”

Read more:What Darren Moore said on going top, Lincoln City and missed chances

James midfield experiment

The idea of playing Reece James in midfield was first properly mooted by a considerable portion of the fanbase following the shambolic defeat to Forest Green Rovers. It was raised again following the Cheltenham game after the likes of Tyreeq Bakinson and Dennis Adeniran failed to grasp their chances.

So Moore made the bold move here in deploying James, a full-back by trade, in central midfield. It wasn’t alien to James having carried out the same role for Moore when the pair were at Doncaster together a couple of seasons ago.

Did it work? Well, the answer is yes and no. James was diligent but took a few risks, notably with a dicey backpass in the first half that was almost cut out by a Lincoln attacker. His manager appeared pleased at his showing however, saying post-match: “It’s not the first time I’ve thought about playing him there.

“He’s done a job in there and I thought he was really good today. His performance was clean and effective so he can feel happy with his performance.”

Whether James keeps that particular role at Oxford on Friday is anyone’s guess.

Home sweet home

Finally, after three successive away games – two of them long hauls down to Gloucestershire – the Owls were back on home soil.

They’ve lost just once at Hillsborough so far this term and the early goal from Smith looked like being the perfect springboard for a return to winning ways. A stubborn albeit limited Lincoln had other ideas though, and Moore’s men had to be content with a solitary point rather than all three.

Thankfully the fixture list becomes a little more forgiving as the season starts to wind down. There are three more assignments in S6 and with the second-best home record in the division, that could prove vital in what looks like being a promotion race that will go down to the wire.

Wilks makes his mark

Mallik Wilks has endured a hugely difficult first season at Wednesday.

Signed from Hull City with an enviable record at this level, Wilks was thought by many to be the final part of the Owls’ attacking jigsaw thanks to his pace and direct approach. But a combination of poor form and niggling injuries has stalled his progress in new surroundings.

After a lengthy lay-off recently, owing to a calf-related issue, Wilks is attempting to make up for lost time. Moore told Yorkshire Live he has been pleased with Wilks’ contribution from the bench in the last two games and believes he’s now ready to potentially make an impact from the start.

He said: “What he does is unsettle the opposition. We started him out wide (when he came on) and then moved him inside into the middle. He’s getting stronger and is probably now in a situation where we feel he can start games. Mallik runs down wide areas but what people don’t give him credit for is that he’s good in the air too. If we can keep him fit for the last seven games he’ll be a wonderful addition for us.”


YorkshireLive | News