Dom Howson's Sheffield Wednesday column: Atdhe Nuhiu must push on after international heroics

Goals are a striker's currency.

Wednesday, 12th September 2018, 11:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th September 2018, 12:02 pm
Atdhe Nuhiu registered in Kosovo's win over the Faroe Islands earlier this week
Atdhe Nuhiu registered in Kosovo's win over the Faroe Islands earlier this week

It is not purely what they are judged on but is a big reason why they get paid the big bucks.

And Wednesday will be hoping Atdhe Nuhiu's goal on international duty will kickstart the big man's season.

True, the opposition were not the strongest. The Faroe Islands are far from a European powerhouse.

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True, it was an easy goal to score (Nuhiu slid in to tap home from less than half a yard). Nuhiu couldn't miss.

But the way he created space for himself in the penalty area was extremely impressive. It was a real poacher's finish.

Nuhiu's strike won't do his confidence any harm as he prepares to return to the club arena. He should have a spring in his step in training again this week.

No one can deny that Nuhiu has made a mixed start to the campaign. He netted in the Owls' Championship opening-day loss at Wigan Athletic but was also given his marching orders after accruing two needless yellow cards.

Nuhiu's performances have lacked consistency. He has been up and down like a yo-yo.

Take Wednesday's last outing against Reading as an example. uhiu put himself about in attack but he wasted a decent opportunity after the break to make the score 3-0. On another day, that miss could have proven very costly.

What should not be forgotten, though, is Nuhiu earned the right to lead the line following his fine goal-scoring exploits at the back end of last term. Nuhiu, a big, physical presence, made a big impact, hitting nine goals in eight outings to ensure he finished as the Owls' leading goal-scorer. He was rewarded with a new two-year contract.

Credit must go to manager Jos Luhukay for resurrecting Nuhiu's career. He turned the towering frontman from an impact sub into an integral part of the team. Nuhiu has thrived under Luhukay.

Nevertheless, Wednesday have a rich array of forward talent. Fernando Forestieri is banned for the next three matches but Luhukay still has the luxury of being able to call upon Nuhiu, Lucas Joao, Marco Matias and Steven Fletcher.

Gary Hooper is edging closer to a first-team return after playing the first half of Monday's Under-23s win over Colchester United. As long as he has no setbacks, Hooper is likely to be ready for action by the end of the month. Sam Winnall is also progressing following his long injury lay-off.

With Luhukay's striking options poised to increase over the coming weeks, Nuhiu can ill-afford to become complacent. He needs to rediscover his best form to retain a starting berth. It is goals he requires to stay in the side.