WHEN Giles Coke made his shock comeback to the Owls team at Hull last month, it was the first time he had ever played in the Championship.
It makes his impact that evening and in the games since then all the more remarkable, for a 26-year-old whose previous experience was in non-league football with Kingstonian, the lower divisions with Mansfield and Northampton, in Scotland with Motherwell and on loan with League One outfit Bury, before he joined Wedndesday.
The Londoner came to Hillsborough confident that he could make a mark on the big stage, and began to do so when he was in the Owls’ League One side.
But after an absence of almost two years from the league 11, and returning from his loan at Bury, he finally got his Championship chance in the 3-1 victory at Hull and has since proved that his impressive performance was no flash in the pan and his self-belief was well founded.
“I’ve got confidence in my ability and I always said I’d love to play in the Championship,” he said. “Now I’ve got my chance.
“I’ve found that the players at this level are technically better, faster and stronger. They’re are a lot of quality players and it’s a very strong league.
“I’ve loved it. You want to play against these players to test yourself. I’m really happy with the way things have gone.
“I still think I can give more. The whole team have helped each other to play really well and pick up points.”
Coke has now played in the last four league games and seems a sure starter against Derby at Hillsborough today after another confident display in last week’s 3-1 win against Brighton.
He added: “What’s happened to me shows there is hope for everyone. But you need to play well to keep your shirt. If you don’t then I am sure the manager will change things and give someone else a chance.
“I know it’s only been four games. I want to see how many I can play in until the end of the season. Hopefully I’ll keep playing to the level I’m playing at and see where it takes me.” He still hopes to earn a new contract, with his present one running out this summer.
Looking at today’s game, he says: “Derby are a good team with some good young players. But we know what we have to do and if we give 100 per cent like we have been doing, I’m sure we can get something out of the game.”