Ex-Sheffield Wednesday man opens up on time with Owls as he signs for Europa Conference League hopefuls
A one-time Sheffield Wednesday starlet has opened up on life under Jos Luhukay and Garry Monk on his unveiling at an ambitious side hoping to cause a ripple in UEFA competition.
Ash Baker, who made 12 league appearances for the Owls under Jos Luhukay and Steve Bruce, has signed for Welsh champions The New Saints after an unsuccessful time at Newport County.
The Welsh youth international, now 24, made the switch back to Wales in January last year as Garry Monk sought to trim the fringes of his first team squad.
TNS are hoping to navigate the next round of the UEFA Europa Conference League and face a qualifying tie with Lithuanian side Kauno Zalgiris having dumped Northern Irish side Glentoran out in the last round.
Speaking at his unveiling as a TNS player, Baker said: “I really enjoyed my time in Sheffield, it really felt like a home to me.
“But it was time to move on, they changed managers too many times and I needed a new place to go.”
Baker was one of the beneficiaries of Jos Luhukay’s controversial ‘youth-first’ mindset that gave several youngsters first team opportunities.
“He just loved the youth,” Baker said.
“It was great for us young lads, all of a sudden I was going on preseason with the first team, I made my debut towards the end of the season and then the next season I was full time with them.
“I played a few games in the Championship and I can’t thank the manager enough.
“I enjoyed it all but playing in the big Sheffield derby was my best moment there I think.”
Baker was moved on by Monk in January 2020 at a similar time to Jordan Thorniley, who has since enjoyed success at Blackpool.
Asked about the switch to Newport, Baker said: “I don’t want to talk too much about this, but I needed a new challenge, there was a new manager coming into Sheffield and I needed game time, which had started to slow down towards the end with a couple of new managers coming in.
“I decided to go to Newport. Obviously things didn’t work out as planned there and now a new opportunity has arisen. And I’ll hit this head on now.”