DAVID Prutton is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with Stephen Bywater once again.
They were not strangers to each other before Bywater played on loan for the Owls for three months.
The two, now both 30, roomed together when they were with England Under 18s.
Prutton says that Bywater has not changed since those days and has proved himself a talented goalkeeper - hence the midfield player’s wish that the Derby man will return to Hillsborough next month.
“He commands his defence and goes about his job well, as all our goalkeepers do,” said Prutton.
“I roomed with him in the Under 18s. I’d not seen much of him since then. He’s had a good career. He’s still the same person, still a good goalie, and still wants to do well.”
Wednesday hope to re-sign Bywater from Derby and retain Stoke winger Ben Marshall, and have already managed to keep Wolves centre back Danny Batth on loan for the rest of the season.
Prutton says it is “very important” to sign players who have been loan successes.
“They have done really well. I remember Danny from Colchester [where he played on loan]; he has matured as a footballer and a person since then.
“He quietly goes about his job and has been a very integral part of it, with Rob Jones at the back.
“Marshy has been fantastic. You want to keep these players around and I’m sure the manager is trying as hard as he can to try to keep them.”
Prutton is also looking forward to a good Christmas on and off the pitch, appreciative of Gary Megson’s decision to allow the players to spend the night with their families before the Boxing Day match at Walsall: “A few of us have got kids; it’s more about them when they’re younger.
“It will be nice seeing them all smiling and happy - then you go back to the day-to-day job of being a footballer.
“Walsall is a hard place to go to - a tight ground with the crowd on top of you, but we prepare for it as we would for any other game.
“From one aspect, it’s pleasing to be where we are [in the table]; from another, we’re only halfway there.
“I was listening to Mancini [Manchester City manager] on Match of the Day when he was talking about winning the title, and he was pragmatic, saying ‘we haven’t won anything yet; we’re only halfway there.’
“It’s pleasing to be where we are [second]; we’ll be ecstatic if we’re there at the end of the season.”
The former Forest, Leeds and Southampton midfielder compares his experiences with the Wednesday set-up and judges that the Owls can cope with whatever pressure comes from maintaining a promotion challenge in the second half of the season.
“I feel we’ve got the mental and physical capablity to deal with it.
“The manager won’t want any weak links; he wants a bunch of players who are on the same page and doing the same things, which is what we’ve got. The manager sets the tone and it comes from him downwards.”
Prutton talks of a great spirit in the dressing room and is not the first to do so: “It’s harmonious. People might assume that if you put a group of footballers together, they should get on. But at any workplace, there are certain times people aren’t going to get on. That’s not been the case here.
“Semedo has mentioned how close we are; that’s not to say we’re all hugging each other. Everyone is patient and accepting of each other but if something needs to be said in training or in a game, it will be said.
“It’s a good place to come to work and earn your living.”