Sheffield Wednesday: Palmer eyeing top-flight tilt

Wednesday's Player of the Year Liam Palmer.
Wednesday's Player of the Year Liam Palmer.
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Liam Palmer claims Sheffield Wednesday are capable of emulating Premier-League-bound Burnley.

Few people predicted at the start of the 2013/14 season that the Clarets possessed the quality or strength in depth to mount a serious top-two challenge.

But the Lancashire club finished second behind Leicester City to clinch a return to the top flight after a four-year absence.

Despite seeing the Owls end up 16th in the final standings, a whopping 19 points shy of the play-off placings, Palmer, the club’s Player of the Year, sees no reason why Stuart Gray’s charges can’t copy Burnley’s achievement.

The Worksop-born player told The Star: “We can take a lot of heart from what Burnley have achieved this season. We’ve got similar traits to them with the budget and how the club is run.

“They’ve been excellent for a number of years now and credit them for going up. If we can follow anywhere near their footsteps, that would be great.”

If Gray’s troops are to be competing in the upper reaches of the division towards the end of next season, Palmer accepts the side will have to make a positive start.

He said: “If we can find a bit of consistency, then we can definitely finish higher than we have this season.

“I think momentum is a big thing in the Championship. If you can put a long run together, with how tight it is, you never know where you might end up.”

Palmer, who sat out the final two league fixtures because of a hip problem, is enjoying working under Gray. He is a big admirer of the Owls chief’s training ground methods and praised him for turning around their fortunes.

“We were near the bottom of the league when Stuart took over,” he said. “In his first game in charge against Leicester, who were top of the table, we managed to win that and we took great spirit from it. He deserves a lot of credit.

“Stuart has instilled a confidence within the group. All the boys want to play for him. He is a great manager and long may it continue.”

The 22-year-old established himself as a first-team regular, playing 44 times in Wednesday’s mid-table finish. He feels it’s important the club continue to produce home-grown players.

“It is massively important we keep bringing players through,” he stated. “Our academy is great here. There are some great coaches. I can’t thank them enough here for all they’ve done for me.

“I’ve been there a long time and it’s great to see some of the kids like Caolan [Lavery and Jack [Stobbs] breaking through. It is good for all the younger boys and shows what can be done. It gives the younger guys extra drive and determination to reach that level and hopefully we can get more of the younger boys coming through the ranks.”