Thorniley and Clare emergence must be killing Sheffield Wednesday's Hirst

A general view of Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 26, 2016 in Sheffield, England. The fresh inquests into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 football...

George Hirst has failed to appear for Sheffield Wednesday at any level this season, following a contract dispute, and seems destined to leave Hillsborough in the summer.

Niclas Thiede of Germany and George Hirst of England compete for the ball during the U19 International match between England and Germany at One Call Stadium on September 5, 2017 in...

A penny for the thoughts of Sheffield Wednesday's George Hirst on his 19th birthday.

Whatever the truth behind Hirst's exile at all levels by Wednesday - and we've only heard from one side officially (the club's) - it is difficult to imagine he would not have been involved over the past few weeks had there not been such a cosmic fall out.

An unprecedented injury crisis has left Jos Luhukay with little option but to look below the Owls' first team for reinforcements, and at least two of Hirst's development squad teammates - Jordan Thorniley and Sean Clare - will fancy their chances of staying in the Dutchman's plans from hereon in.

Jos Luhukay, Manager of Sheffield Wednesday during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Sheffield Wednesday and Reading on January 26, 2018 in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

That Hirst is not among them is a tragedy for everyone concerned, given what his family name means to Sheffield Wednesday and what Sheffield Wednesday means to him (despite everything, a recent Instagram post showed the striker playing as the Owls on a popular computer game). And it is almost certain there is blame on both sides.

Wednesday questioned "the advice George has received from his agents and other advisors" after he failed to sign a new contract, while Carlton Palmer - a former Hillsborough teammate of Hirst's father, David - later told BBC Radio Sheffield: "The only thing that's going on there is George wants to play football, he wants to get the opportunity to play."

25 Mar 2001:   Bryan Hughes of Birmingham tackles Carlton Palmer of Sheff Wed during the Nationwide 1st Division match between Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday played at St. Andrews,...

Palmer added: "They're signing more and more strikers, he's going down the pecking order. He's happy to stay if they let him go out on loan, but they're asking a loan fee for him which is huge and they're not prepared to pay him that in wages. You can't have it one way and the other."

If first team football is indeed what Hirst wants, there has never been a better time for him to get it at Sheffield Wednesday.

One suspects, however, that the relationship between player and club is now far beyond repair.

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