SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Owls on right lines with Antonio move

Sunning themselves: Some of the hundreds of Sheffield Wednesday supporters who are backing the team during their stay in Portugal
Sunning themselves: Some of the hundreds of Sheffield Wednesday supporters who are backing the team during their stay in Portugal
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chris Lines hopes to be able to welcome Michail Antonio back into the Wednesday dressing room.

Last season’s loan star was popular as a character and admired as a player in the spell where he helped the club to win promotion last season.

News that he could be coming back has pleased Lines, who said: “He played a big part in what happened at the end of last season.

“He’s the only winger of his type that we’ve got, apart from Jermaine Johnson.

“They both terrorised full backs last season and if we had the two of them out there then it would be pretty scary for most teams.

“I don’t really know what Michail’s situation is with Reading, but I think he would be a great signing, and I’m sure he enjoyed his time with us. He’s a good lad, as well.

“He can only strengthen us.”

Lines says that team spirit continues to flourish amid the nucleus of last season’s squad and the new players who have arrived.

“All the lads get on really well,” he said. “Nobody is out on their own. Obviously we’ve been training together, and in rest time here in Portugal we’ve been going to the beach or the pool.

“We all need to stick together - that’s what you need and it’s team spirit that can help you to win matches.”

Lines is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with Antonio when the Owls and Reading play each other tonight in Albufeira, kick-off 8pm, both British and Portuguese time.

The midfield player is also a friend of Royals defender Sean Morrison, who had a spell on loan at Huddersfield last season.

Lines enjoyed the experience of playing against Sport Lisbon, though the Owls lost 2-0, on Sunday.

“That was a real test. I think the lads did well, considering it was our second game and against a team that plays in the Champions League and has internationals. They were always going to have a lot of possession, and it’s not really about results at this stage. I enjoyed it.

“This one against Reading will be a different sort of test, probably a bit more physical. They have a lot of pace and they had a great season last season. I’m looking forward to it.”

Lines also faces competition for his place.

New signing Nejc Pecnik has made a favourable impression. Although the Slovenian has been described as a midfield player, Lines says: “He’s more of an attacking winger or striker. He looks a decent player.” Pecnik played against Sporting, but midfielder Diogo Amado did not: “I’ve only seen Diogo in training so I haven’t seen too much of him, but all our new signings look good players,” said Lines

Boss Dave Jones told The Star he is pleased with the way all his players are shaping up, and was impressed by Pecnik: “He did really well, and he’ll get better and stronger. It was a very good game and we didn’t embarrass ourselves against one of the top teams in Europe.”

Likely to make changes tonight, he said: “I’m looking at every player we have, and it will be the same kind of approach right through pre-season until we kick off against Oldham (in the Capital One Cup on August 13).”

Like Wednesday, Reading are based in the Algarve. They drew 1-1 with Quarteirense at the Portuguese club’s ground on Saturday.

The Star is donating £200 to Sheffield Wednesday’s support of the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice as part of our Portuguese coverage.