Sheffield Wednesday: Owls' Pudil contemplates last shot at Premier glory
He was one game away from the Premier League two seasons ago.
Now, Daniel Pudil believes he may have just 12 months left to realise his top-flight dream with Sheffield Wednesday.
The defender is in his 30s and out of contract at the end of the Championship campaign which begins today.
Pudil, a Czech Republic international, believes the Owls are good enough to be in the promotion mix, but accepts times is running out for him personally to finally make the leap after a career in English football spent in the second tier.
“Probably, it will be my last chance,” he said. “I will be 33 in September. Let’s see if I can have another two or three years maybe over here, so this will be one of my last chances to get in the Premier league.
“Since I came, I have tried to do my best in every single game and have got close to the Premier League. It didn’t happen, but let’s see what will happen this season.”
Wednesday kick off this afternoon at Wigan Athletic where Pudil - who was in the Owls side that lost the 2016 Championship Play-off Final 1-0 to Hull City - is expecting a tough test.
“They got promoted last year,” he said. “We saw a couple of clips and highlights. We know they are going to be compact and press us high in the first ten or 15 minutes.
“We will have to go through that, settle down a little bit, play our football and score our first goal to get the confidence. If we do that, I believe we will bring the points back to Hillsborough.
“It is always important to score the first goal, especially away against a team like Wigan who have just got promoted. They are going to be sharp and hungry to win the game.”
Pudil, a 2015 arrival from Watford, also played in both legs when Wednesday lost a play-off semi-final penalty shoot-out against Huddersfield Town a year after his Wembley disappointment against the Tigers.
“I am a little sad that it did not happen in the first season I came as we were quite close to the Premier League,” he said.
“Wherever I have been, I have tried to give my best. This is another challenge for me to improve myself, play the best football of my career and help Sheffield Wednesday go as far as possible.”