I planned to type up my thoughts on today’s victory against Huddersfield, but I feel Sam Winnall deserves a quick mention after coming off the bench to score in Garry Monk’s first game in charge. Monk has been known to opt for systems which make use of two attackers where possible, and Winnall more than staked a claim for a starting berth next time out alongside Steven Fletcher.
What stood out for me, and always catches my attention when Winnall scores, is the raw passion and emotion he shows. You can tell it means a lot to him to get on the scoresheet, and more so now after going so long without finding the back of the net due to serious injury. It’s been a long and hard road back for Winnall, who is undoubtedly a player who wants to be on the pitch and contributing.
With a new manager coming in, it typically provides every player with their chance to stake a claim. While some will get to do that in the starting line-up from the off, others will have to bide their time, taking their chance when it arrives. Winnall entered the fray with us a goal to the good on 60 minutes, and he immediately showed signs of the Winnall of old.
I’ve personally always seen Winnall as a player full of industry, one who will work hard for the team. I think this is vital in the Championship as it’s a division where commitment and desire are needed. He has an excellent goalscoring record too, and has proven his worth at this level, and could now cement himself as Steven Fletcher’s strike partner on a regular occasion.
Wednesday looked a more significant threat in the final third once Winnall came on in my opinion, with his running and movement causing Huddersfield problems. I think at times Fletcher, who has been fantastic for us, is left isolated. But with Winnall on the scene, he’ll have somebody to feed off his knockdowns, flick-ons and round the corner passes.
Winnall used his intelligence and positioning to get on the end of a magnificent ball by Barry Bannan, planting an excellent header past Kamil Grabara. With Bannan and Kadeem Harris more than capable of providing the ammo, we immediately look a more potent force with both Winnall and Fletcher ready to pounce.
There are a plethora of strikers at the club right now, but for me, on that showing, Winnall is the one in the driving seat if we’re to play two out and out forward men. I thought Atty Nuhiu’s cameo was impressive too but feel with Winnall and Fletcher there’s a good mixture of attributes, more mobility and a good goal threat.
With Fulham up next at Hillsborough, it will be interesting to see if Monk opts for the Fletcher Winnall partnership and looks to take it to Scott Parker’s side in that respect. Either way, I’m delighted to see Winnall back amongst the goals and looking more like his former self.