The Sheffield Wednesday manager Tony Pulis has refused to publicly blame Joost van Aken for Swansea City’s equalising goal on Wednesday night.
Van Aken allowed Andre Ayew to cut inside on his favoured left foot and curl his shot beyond the helpless Owls goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith.
The Dutch defender was withdrawn just minutes later.
But in response to Andy Giddings of BBC Radio Sheffield, who claimed that Pulis seemed ‘particularly disappointed’ with Van Aken’s role in the goal that denied Wednesday a 1-0 win at the Liberty Stadium, the Welshman said: “Listen, the lads have worked really hard. They’re a really, really good group of lads. Since I’ve come in they’ve really worked hard.
“There’s lots of things we have to work on and lots of things I’d like to put in place.
“We’re short in certain areas. When you think we’ve got six players out tonight – (Josh) Windass, (Jack) Marriott, (Aden) Flint, (Dominic) Iorfa, (Chey) Dunkley (and Kadeem Harris) – those players, most (would) probably have started tonight.
“So those players who have played tonight have done absolutely, fantastically well and we’ve had one of those two away games (in succession). It’s unfair in some respects and it’s something that I think the EFL should look at, because Stoke played last night at 7 o’clock and now we’ve got to travel all the way back.
“We won’t get back until the early hours of Thursday morning and Stoke would have had two extra days rest than us, which I don’t think is fair. I don’t think it’s right and they should look at it.”
Van Aken has started all 10 Championship games for which he has been available this season, having spent last term on loan to VfL Osnabruck in the German second tier.
And with no specialist senior left-back currently on the books at Hillsborough, the Owls may have little option but to persist with the left-footed 26-year-old until the January transfer window.
Moses Odubajo, a right-footer, and Matt Penney and Adam Reach, who would both prefer to operate further up the pitch, can also play there, however.
The academy left-back Ryan Galvin has trained with the Wednesday first-team in recent weeks.