New system, 5 changes as injuries strike: Will this be Pulis's first Owls XI?
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New system, 5 changes as injuries strike: Will this be Pulis's first Owls XI?

Tony Pulis takes his newly inherited Sheffield Wednesday side to Preston North End on Saturday, hoping to avoid being the first to come away from Deepdle this season without three points.

And there are already signs that Pulis intends to shake up the squad left by Garry Monk.

But which players will make his maiden Owls XI?

We at SWN have had an early go at calling it, below…

Goalkeeper – Keiren Westwood

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Pulis spoke highly of Westwood at his unveiling on Monday – hours after footage emerged of the 36-year-old back in training, having been exiled by Monk. It is claimed the Owls are now trying to register him in time for the trip to Deepdale and he’ll be the favourite to start if the green light is given by the EFL. It’ll be harsh on Joe Wildsmith, though time is at least on the latter’s side.


Defenders – Moses Odubajo, Tom Lees, Julian Borner, Liam Palmer

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This could be one of the problem areas for Pulis, who is already without one of his former players, Aden Flint, and likely, too, Chey Dunkley. The new Owls boss also alluded to having ‘four or five good players’ out injured on Monday and neither Dominic Iorfa nor Joost van Aken can be clearly seen on any of the footage shared by the club of this week’s training sessions. Should Dunkley, Iorfa and Van Aken miss out at Preston, Pulis would be left with just Lees and Borner as senior centre-halves. Unlike Monk, it is hard to envisage the Welshman shoehorning in a player from elsewhere on the pitch, which could therefore see a switch to a four-at-the-back system. Odubajo and Matt Penney are his only full-backs of any real experience, although Palmer’s defensive qualities could see him given the nod over one or the other.

Central midfielders – Massimo Luongo, Barry Bannan

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Luongo returned to training over the international break having been missed in recent weeks, and is a certainty, you would think, to start alongside Bannan if passed fit. The Australian could be replaced or joined by Joey Pelupessy, depending on formation.

Attacking midfielders – Adam Reach, Izzy Brown, Josh Windass

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Pulis is a self-confessed fan of a traditional winger, of which Wednesday have just Reach and Kadeem Harris, who is suspended. Deploying Reach on the right and a right-footer, such as Windass, Brown or Elias Kachunga on the left would allow for the full-backs to overlap and, in theory, increase the amount of crosses coming in. The third man, whomever he may be, would then act as the link between midfield and attack.

Striker – Jordan Rhodes

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According to Pulis, Rhodes and Windass were the only strikers present at training on Monday – implying that Jack Marriott is one of the injured and that the 62-year-old doesn’t see Kachunga (who was sighted) as a centre-forward. Pulis also expressed doubts over Callum Paterson’s suitability in the role, but won’t get a chance to assess the Scot until he returns from national service on Thursday. With Windass more of a 10 then a nine, Rhodes could find himself restored to the Wednesday XI.

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