The ‘unknown’ boss who helped Sheffield Wednesday end a year of disappointment on a high has earned the right to prove himself next season, according to an Owls legend.
After arriving unheralded from German football, Jos Luhukay masterminded a run of six wins and two draws in Wednesday’s final 10 Championship matches last term.
And former player Mel Sterland believes the Dutchman should be afforded enough time to turn the Owls into promotion contenders again when the new season kicks off in August.
“I’d never heard of him before he got the job and, speaking to ex-players, they had never heard of him either,” said Sterland who made well over 300 right-back appearances and won an England cap during 11 years with the Owls between 1978 and 1989.
“They got some good results and the players seemed to respond to how he wanted to play.
“He’s done okay. I just hope the chairman (Dejphon Chansiri) gives him the chance.”
The players seemed to respond to how he wanted to playMel Sterland
Wednesday finished 2017/18 with a flourish after an horrendous list of injuries had severely depleted their side and sparked fears of the drop.
They had started the season among the favourites for promotion after reaching the play-offs in the previous two years under Luhukay’s predecessor, Carlos Carvalhal, but found themselves in the wrong half of the table.
“I actually thought we could get relegated at one point due to the amount of players we had out injured,” Sterland said.
“The new manager came in and has not done bad, but overall it was a disappointing season.”
Former Hertha Berlin boss Luhukay replaced Carvalhal in January. A decent start was followed by five successive defeats before senior players finally left the treatment room and results markedly improved.
Luhukay will be able to call on the services of Atdhe Nuhiu after the giant striker signed a new two-year deal last month.
Nuhiu was rarely given a start by Carvalhal but hit nine goals in eight games, including a last-day hat-trick against Norwich City, when Luhukay turned to him,
Sterland is delighted to see the Kosovo international remain at Hillsborough.
“Carlos never played him, but Atdhe’s done well,” he said.
“He deserves his new contract because he’s scored some vital goals for Wednesday.”