Sheffield Wednesday boss Darren Moore has claimed Owls captain Barry Bannan is “feeling good” ahead of this afternoon’s League One clash with Charlton Athletic.
On Wednesday they are top of the table in the third tier and will break a club record if they can extend their unbeaten run to 20 games at The Valley this afternoon.
Moore’s team’s run looks all the more impressive given that Bannan, who has been one of the best players in League One since the Yorkshire club’s relegation, has missed four of his last 10 league games.
The 33-year-old playmaker has missed just three league games in the previous three campaigns – such is his importance – but on Wednesday he is now trying out a new approach to better manage his playing time.
Speaking to Yorkshire Live, Moore described the change in tactics and revealed an exciting update on the captain’s current status.
He said: “It’s all about managing your load. He had just come back from that injury but we have been able to integrate him again.
“The way the games have gone, it probably allowed us to get him out with that 10, 15, 20 minutes left to play. He has regained his full fitness now and adding match minutes to his training is good. Obviously, these weeks of a game also benefit the volume he can get in training. He feels good and it’s certainly nice to have him back.”
Moore added: “With Baz and all the players, everything we do here is to help them and keep them,” added the Owls boss. “Our emphasis is on prevention, not cure. That’s why we introduced a lot of things, like biometric testing, our sports science department increased, we also introduced yoga here.
“He is trying to prevent injuries instead of curing them. On top of that, you have to make decisions in terms of volume that goes to players because we want them to keep playing for us as long as possible.”
On Wednesday they beat the Addicks 1-0 in the reverse fixture at Hillsborough in August.
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Bannan has been an ever-present in the Owls’ side in recent seasons, but it’s certainly good news that Moore is taking care to handle him at the moment.
The 33-year-old is one of the most talented players in League One, but he can’t influence games if he’s not available and keeping him in top form is the way to get the best out of him.
It will be important to find the balance between ensuring Wednesday is at its best and Bannan’s minutes are well managed, not just for this season but for those to come.
It seems to be working at the moment and Charlton have been advised that the Scotsman is feeling well ahead of today’s match.