Newcastle United loanee Achraf Lazaar pays tribute to Sheffield Wednesday fans
Attacking full-back Achraf Lazaar has thanked Wednesday's fans for their unwavering support during his injury lay-off.
Lazaar spent around six weeks on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury in the victory over Brentford at the back end of February.
After missing six matches, the Newcastle United returned to action as a late second half substitute against Nottingham Forest last week.
Lazaar has only appeared three times in Owls colours since moving to Hillsborough but he quickly won Wednesdayites over with his energetic, swashbuckling displays.
"They (the fans) make me feel so good," he told The Star. "I missed a lot of football but they messaged me from everywhere.
"When they message you saying 'you did a great a game and we want you to sign permanently', I love stuff like that. I really appreciated it.
"It is great to hear that from the fans and I want to say thank you."
Lazaar was also quick to praise the contribution of his family and Wednesday's medical team.
"My family helped me and so did the staff every day," he said. "I want to say thank you to the staff because they have done great work.
"I'm happy to be back with the squad."
By his own admission, Lazaar is not a good watcher from the stands.
He said: "It is always not great looking at the team in the (hospitality) box.
"But if you are injured, you don't have any choice.
"When I was looking, I was looking at the fans and how they are feeling. I saw what the fans want. Everyone gets excited for the games and it is amazing.
"It is different but when you are on the pitch you feel things that I can't explain."
With his hamstring problem now behind him, Lazaar is keen to make up for lost time. A minor shoulder issue could prevent the 27-year-old from figuring in the Owls' Good Friday trip to top-of-the-table Norwich City.
But having worked hard to regain full fitness, Lazaar hopes he can help the team finish the season on a positive note.
Steve Bruce's troops still have outside chance of securing a top-six finish following a superb sequence of results.
He said: "The guys have done a very good performance.
"Right now, we have to think about ourselves. We have to think about the last four games and give everything.
"We know we have great quality in the team. We just have to improve ourselves every day in training.
"Everyone who goes inside the pitch have to show what they can do.
“We can't think about all the games. We have to take it game by game and see what happens.
"I know the team are going to give it 100 per cent. They work every day so hard. I'm sure we are going to do well.”
It is fair to say Lazaar is enjoying life at S6, having been frozen out on Tyneside. More than two and a half years have passed since Lazaar joined the Premier League but the Morocco international has yet to make a league start for the Magpies.
"When I signed for Newcastle, I was happy because my dream was to play in England," he said. "But the dream never started.
"I never had a chance to show what I could do there. That is not a problem.
"I want to say thank you to Newcastle for giving me a five year contract.
"But I want to say thank you to Sheffield Wednesday for giving me the opportunity to show what I can do.
"I am so glad to be here and to show what I can do and what sort of player I am. I'm happy to be here.”
On his long-term future, Lazaar said: "I am thinking about the present all the time. I have my agent and family; they think about the future but I say always you have to think day by day.
"The present is the most important thing. I am working hard and thinking what I have to do every day and the future will take care of itself.”
Lazaar has refused to rule out the possibility of returning to Wednesday next season, saying: “If I have a great opportunity to play and one team give you a lot of confidence and you are happy with the group and happy for everything in the city and everything then, of course, I don't think it is a bad idea.”