Alan Biggs at Large: Atdhe Nuhiu's Sheffield Wednesday renaissance sparks comparisons with a Premier League and international star

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Think Niall Quinn. That’s a former Sheffield Wednesday manager’s advice to critics of Atdhe Nuhiu.

Of which there are suddenly barely any, while you still know - if he misses a chance or two in a game that the Owls don’t win - where to look for the likeliest fall guy.

Play well, play badly, you just can’t miss this bloke. That’s part of it really. He stands out as a target for a crowd just as for a target for team-mates to hit up front.

The good news is he’s standing out for being in the form of his life. And I can imagine most will be cheering this column’s understanding, from good sources, that Nuhiu wants to stay at Hillsborough - despite his mixed treatment from fans and the likelihood of other offers.

There was a time when British football was stacked with strikers of the same build and breed. You took them for what they were, never dreaming of demanding the silky control and pace of the big forwards now in vogue. Another reason why Nuhiu stands out. Just as Quinn did in another, not too distant, era.

As some of Atdhe’s critics seem to be of the younger variety, better explain. Admittedly, the two careers are not exactly comparable. Quinn played mainly in the top flight, amassing 141 league goals for Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland; plus 21 for Jack Charlton’s indomitable Republic of Ireland. Atdhe has just 35 in a near-five year Owls career.

But, with 11 this season, the 6ft 4in Kosovo international is certainly proving of relative nuisance value to opposition defences. And with the respect of other Championship managers as Wednesday set about nailing Nuhiu to the new deal promised by admiring head coach Jos Luhukay.

He’s also capable of an unexpected trick or two, along with an outrageous moment like his recent second goal against Preston, as good an individual effort as Hillsborough has probably ever witnessed.

But it is for his bread and butter qualities that Nuhiu threatens to muscle in among an array of strikers next season – Gary Hooper, Lucas Joao, Jordan Rhodes, Steven Fletcher. You wouldn’t bet against him leaving at least a couple in the shade. While Adam Reach is rightly player of the season, this one is the biggest revelation.

Gary Megson, who had Quinn as a team-mate at City in the early 1990s, understands why. “I used to play with Niall, a really intelligent guy who said he would always have his critics,” Megson recalls.

Atdhe Nuhiu, left

Atdhe Nuhiu, left

“He didn’t look great but he got the job done. I think Nuhiu does exactly the same thing.

“He’s hard to play against and he’s turned it round at Wednesday. But even under Carlos (ex boss Carvalhal, who made Nuhiu an increasingly marginalised figure), if it wasn’t working then they’d sling him on. And then it’s an entirely different game.”

Maybe Nuhiu can finally be the catalyst Rhodes needs, too? Jordan is unsuited to, and performed manfully in, the lone front man role that left him isolated in the otherwise excellent, Fernando Forestieri-inspired, 3-0 win over Reading. Luhukay can argue he got his tactics spot on – but it’s mouth-watering to think what a better-supported Rhodes, with Forestieri just behind, might achieve next season.