Fans' favourite Keiren Westwood feared he would never play again for Sheffield Wednesday
Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood has admitted he feared he would never play for Sheffield Wednesday again.
The Republic of Ireland made the admission after helping the Owls claim a much-needed Championship victory over Preston North End.
Westwood, frozen out by Jos Luhukay, who was sacked last Friday, was handed his first start in over a year last weekend. Caretaker boss Lee Bullen brought Westwood in from the cold and dropped Cameron Dawson to the bench.
Fans' favourite Westwood was loudly cheered when the public address announcer read out his name in the run-through of the teams just before kick-off, with Wednesdayites chanting 'there's only one Keiren Westwood' on a number of occasions in the afternoon.
The 34-year-old celebrated his return to action by keeping a clean sheet as Wednesday secured only their second league win in 11 matches courtesy of a second half header by Michael Hector.
Westwood, whose contract expires at the end of the season, posted on Twitter on Saturday evening: 'What a surreal 24 hours! I honestly never thought I would never pull on the SWFC jersey again.
'Whatever happens in the next month or over the course of the season, I will never forget the reception I received today by the fans. If I could personally thanks everybody individually, I would.
'Thanks to Bully [Lee Bullen] for throwing me in. It wasn't a pretty game, but we deserved the victory.
'I thought the lads in front of me were magnificent. From Fletch (Steven Fletcher) to Foxy (Morgan Fox) & the lads coming on, Atdhe (Nuhiu), Boydy (George Boyd) and Hutch (Sam Hutchinson). Plus the lads that didn't (play). Everybody was together working in the same direction.
'It was a big team effort."
Westwood reserved special praise for matchwinner Hector, saying: 'Big Hector was great, clean sheet and a goal from the man."
Westwood, reportedly a transfer target for Leeds United, was one of five changes made to the starting eleven by Bullen.
"It was a gamble to put some of those players in, but the atmosphere at Hillsborough has been pretty tough lately so I had to look at it from that aspect and luckily enough the decisions were vindicated with the result," said Bullen.