Sheffield Wednesday: Llera gets a head start

Miguel Llera, minus skull cap, gets vocal during the match at Stockport
Miguel Llera, minus skull cap, gets vocal during the match at Stockport
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Miguel Llera has been sporting a new look but intends to get back in the old routine next season.

The Owls defender played in the friendly at Stockport without his skull cap and with just a headband, to keep his hair in check.

Protective headgear made him a distinctive sight in league matches but the weather has influenced his decision to do without it in pre-season.

When the real action starts it is likely that he will don the cap again and look to maintain and hopefully even improve upon the playing standards that he produced last season; his signing of a new one-year contract was a good start towards his future.

“In pre-season it can be too hot to wear it (the cap), especially when we are in Portugal,” he told The Star, “but when the season starts I think I will use it again.” There is no medical reason why he has to wear it: the practice came after he suffered a nasty gash above an eye in the Owls’ game at Exeter in February, 2012.

It was not the first time he had picked up such an injury, and he decided to wear the cap to protect his head from cuts.

He feels that there been times when it has done its job, after he has taken a bang on the head, and that is the main reason why he has persevered with it.

But he has also come to regard it as a something of a lucky charm, and simply freels comfortable wearing it.

It has never impaired his heading ability, in attacking or defendiing. Llera, assuming he is in the side, can be expected to go up for corners - or take them, which he did with some expertise last season when a left-footer was neeed to whip in inswingers from the right. He may also continue to shoot fron free kicks.

The centre half who scored six goals last season said: “If course it is up to the manager whether I take corners or free kicks; if he wants me to, I will be happy to do it.

“I also hope to improve on last season.”

Llera came on for Anthony Gardner at half time of the 3-0 win at Stockport.

Martin Taylor was handed a full game and perhaps was in greater need of the minutes, having been kept out of the side by the Llera/Gardner partnership.

Taylor’s goal - an emphatic header from a Rhys McCabe free kick - provided a reminder that he too can be an asset at set pieces. He scored 10 goals in 86 league games for Watford, though he has yet to get off the mark for the Owls.