Sheffield Wednesday: Caretaker Lee Bullen pays tribute to midfielder Sam Hutchinson after first start in four months
Sam Hutchinson gave Sheffield Wednesday some much-needed bite in the win over Middlesbrough.
That was the verdict of Owls' caretaker boss Lee Bullen after Wednesday secured back-to-back wins over the festive period.
Hutchinson, who was frozen out by previous boss Jos Luhukay, returned to the heart of midfield at the Riverside.
It was the 29-year-old's first start since August after being consigned to the Hillsborough scrapheap by Luhukay.
But under Bullen the former Chelsea man has featured in both the wins over Preston and Boro.
Hutchinson lasted 73 minutes against Tony Pulis' team and showed signs of his old self as Wednesday secured successive clean sheets.
"I felt we needed aggression,' Bullen said after the win on Teesside.
"I knew how aggressive and physical Middlesbrough are.
"I thought there would be spells where there would be pressure on and Sam has that aggression.
"You take a gamble sometimes with Sam.
'Because he can be overly-aggressive at times, but I thought he was very disciplined.'
Bullen will now make a check on whether Hutchinson is ready for a second start in the space of four days when the Owls head to high-flying West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
The Scot said: "We gave him a good run-out and we'll see if he's ready for West Brom at the weekend.'
Bullen will also make checks on Lucas Joao and Josh Onomah after both went off injured against Boro.
Joao went off early with what looked like a hamstring complaint whilst his replacement Onomah also departed early with what Bullen described as a groin injury.
He added: 'We hope that it's just a 24-hour thing that will sort itself out.'