Sheffield Wednesday: Owls fully aware of Patrick Bamford threat

Patrick Bamford

Patrick Bamford

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You could argue Patrick Bamford will present the greatest threat to Sheffield Wednesday’s backline this afternoon.

It was just over a year ago the 21-year-old scored a spectacular goal while on loan at Derby County to cap his first ever visit to Hillsborough in fine style.

Now Bamford is finding the back of the net on a consistent basis for Middlesbrough, hitting 12 goals in 30 outings for the Championship high-fliers this season.

Owls head coach Stuart Gray is acutely aware of the danger the Chelsea youngster will pose to his side as they chase their first home win in two months.

“The boy scored a wonder goal against us when he was at Derby,” Gray told The Star. “He’s got a good habit of scoring goals for Middlesbrough now.

“But there’s also Lee Tomlin, who plays in the pocket behind.

“Middlesbrough have pace in the team, and will hit you on the counter-attack, the onus is on us to attack them.”

When asked if he tried to sign Bamford, Gray said: “We are always interested in good players.

“He did well at Derby, then suddenly a connection through the Middlesbrough manager and Chelsea, that’s how he ended up at Middlesbrough.”

The Wednesday chief has challenged his players to be more ruthless in the final third, particularly on home soil.

“We have got five goals in the last two games, hopefully we can go on a little run of scoring,” he said.

“We have had chances at Hillsborough, not half chances. Good chances where you get off your seat and think ‘goal’. Unfortunately it’s been saved, hit the woodwork, or missed the target.

“We were on a bad run, not a won in seven (before Millwall). Apart from the Ipswich game, our performances have been reasonably good.

“At the start of the season, it was the same sort of performances, but we were winning the games.”

Kamil Zayatte and Claude Dielna (both knee) should start and goalkeeper Keiren Westwood is set to return after serving a one-match suspension.

Slovenian international Dejan Kelhar, meanwhile, is on the mend following a cruciate knee ligament injury.

“Dejan has just had a fitness test, so he can join in with the big group now as of Friday,” said Gray. “Hopefully we can get him his fitness fast-tracked so we can get him back and provide more competition for the centre-halves.”

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