Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones is confident versatile forward Michail Antonio will recapture the form which made him a major attacking threat last season.
The 23-year-old notched nine goals in the 2012/13 campaign as the Owls narrowly retained their Championship status. However, Antonio missed the final two months of the season after sustaining a serious groin injury in their defeat to Premier League-bound Cardiff City.
Although the London-born player has featured prominently in the first-team this year, he readily admits his performances have not been up to scratch, leading to a section of the club’s fans criticising him.
But Antonio silenced his detractors by claiming his second goal of the season in Wednesday’s draw with Ipswich Town before the two-week international break.
Jones told The Star: “Michail’s goal [against Ipswich] should give him a boost. You can see he is working hard to get back to his best.
“He did miss some of pre-season. That’s not an excuse but it does take a bit of time to get back to what we expect.”
But the Owls chief, who is waiting to find out the full extent of captain Reda Johnson’s groin problem, warned: “Every player has to work hard to retain their place.”
Antonio felt he produced his best individual display of the season in the draw with Ipswich, a result which leaves Wednesday third-from-bottom in the second tier of English football.
“I don’t feel as sharp as I was before my injury but I know I’m getting sharper with every game I’m playing,” said Antonio.