Key midfielder Allen will decide this week whether to go under the knife to cure a troublesome problem aggravated in the warm-up against Cardiff City last weekend.
The ‘Welsh Pirlo’ has been blighted with injury in his second spell at the club and will be a sore loss for Duff desperate for experience amongst his young squad.
Already without Kyle Naughton and the suspended Ollie Cooper the Swans boss will assess Josh Key and Liam Cullen ahead of the visit of fellow strugglers Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday afternoon.
“The main worry at the minute is Joe Allen, in terms of how long we can’t put a timeframe on that at the moment,” said Duff.
“He has been given two or three options and it is up to him which one he goes with. If he decides the wrong way, then he may need surgery.
“So, it’s whether he decides to do that first or not. There are lots of parts to weigh up. I don’t think we’ll be seeing him in the next three or four weeks.
“Culls [Liam Cullen] came off [against QPR] and we’re hoping that was just a knock, but we don’t think that is anything too serious.”
The Swans are still winless and searching for their first victory of the league campaign after letting slip a lead in the 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Tuesday night.
The fixture at the Swansea.com Stadium against an Owls side in a similar transitional period could prove to be the Northern Irishman’s chance to ease growing pressure and turn things around in his early tenure in South Wales.
The former Barnsley head-coach, however, is fully aware of the dangers that the Yorkshire club carries having seen his then Tykes side lose in the League One play-off final back in May.
“It is an important game. Sheffield Wednesday are a huge football club and yes, they have had a difficult start, as have Middlesbrough. They were in the play-offs last year and have not won a game yet,” continued Duff.
“There are no easy wins in this league, people aren’t going to give you a win. People may think it is only Sheffield Wednesday we’ll beat them. It won’t happen unless we put the complete performance together to get the win.
“Their team has changed quite a bit; the manager has changed. They will be in the same situation as us. They brought some good players in like Ashley Fletcher to lead the line.
“The core of the team has Barry Bannan who has been the heartbeat of the football team for a long time. He can open a can of beans with his left foot, so we have to keep an eye on him.
“They have Championship proven players all the way through their squad. Even last year in League One.
“It is about us delivering a 90-minute performance when we are good with the ball, without the ball and in the transitional phase.”
With just seven goals in as many games in the Championship this season, the pragmatic coach admits he is looking to find the right combinations up front to fill the massive void left by Dutchman Joel Piroe’s move to Leeds United last month.
With more options at his disposal now than prior to the international break, Duff feels that he can have more flexibility in both formation and on pitch personnel to start to pick up results.
“With people like Jamal [Lowe] and Josh [Ginnelly] it gives us something that we couldn’t do earlier in the season because we didn’t have any wingers,” explained Duff.
“There was no point in playing 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 when we had no left side to the pitch and our options were limited.
“If we could have had this group and had a full pre-season, we would be in a better position than we are now.
“I watched Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough the other day and Middlesbrough had 38 goals taken out of them in people like [Cameron] Archer and [Aaron] Ramsey. It is finding a way; we talk about relationships and it’s finding out who is going to link well with who.
“Yatesy [Jerry Yates] has been left out the other day, but it doesn’t mean we have given up on him. We think he is a good player but is suffering with confidence a little. Sometimes it is good to take him out of the firing line before putting him back in.
“You have taken 30 goals out of the team [Losing Piroe]. Culls [Liam Cullen] has scored goals at the football club, Josh [Ginnelly] has goals and people know what Jamal [Lowe] is about and there are still other people behind them as well.
“There is a void when we scored 66 goals last year and you lose 50% of the goals out of the team. People now need to step up and that is what we have to do.”
[Lead image: Swansea City Football Club]
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