Four-in-four Barry Bannan balancing off-field joy with leading Sheffield Wednesday promotion charge

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It’s fair to say the joys of fatherhood come with their challenges – especially in the first few weeks of any new arrival.

But after Sheffield Wednesday club captain Barry Bannan welcomed a beautiful baby boy to the family last month, there was no time for paternity leave of any real note. A few days later the ‘Wee Scottish Man’ was hot-tailing it to Cheltenham Town with three points in mind.

It’s been a difficult period on the pitch, too, both in terms of results and time spent away from family and the ability to recover.

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A quirk of the fixture schedule has thrown up away travel amounting to well over 1,000 miles since that Cheltenham clash just 23 days ago and that’s notwithstanding the travel time put in to and from Sheffield from the new family home near Nottingham.

Owls skipper Barry Bannan   Pic Steve EllisOwls skipper Barry Bannan   Pic Steve Ellis
Owls skipper Barry Bannan Pic Steve Ellis

A job darn pit he’s not faced with, but for an elite sportsman hoping to maximise his energy levels and boost recovery, it’s a period that will have seen Bannan faced with challenges.

Thankfully – as the moment the ball rattled from his boot and into the far corner of the Bristol Rovers net would attest – there is little sign of struggle. The Owls skipper has produced a goal contribution in each of their last four matches (two goals, two assists) and has five in their last six (three assists).

When Wednesday have required moments of magic, their main man has most often been the figure to find one.

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“The way he manages himself is excellent,” Darren Moore told The Star. “He has a really young and beautiful family, he’s a father with huge responsibility, but he’s maintaining his professional approach and contributing on the pitch.

“He’s been exceptional and this weekend he is nominated as one of the divisional players of the year and rightly so because he produces moments of magic with the ball at his feet.

“What does go unnoticed is the work he does off the ball for the team. That has been exceptional and he leads by example. He plays for a club that he loves dearly and gives everything for it.

“Credit to him and in terms of those goals and assists, he’s kept us in where we are at this moment of the season and as long as he stays fit he’s play a pivotal role in the rest of it.”

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Moore is too a father and reflecting on Bannan’s ability to maintain performance levels in what will no doubt have been a manic few weeks, the Owls boss continued: “Even when we’ve been travelling and he’s back late to his bed at night, he needs his rest but the kids are in early in the morning waking Daddy up. They just want to see him!

“At the same time, he requires his rest, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We’re all fathers, but at the same time he has to produce on the pitch in a physical way. The best way to get that rest and recuperation in is sleep. He’s managing it exceptionally well, he’s producing and he’s been exceptional since I’ve been here as a manager.”