Sheffield Wednesday column: How Jos Luhukay and Adam Reach have helped the Owls pass their toughest test

Jos Luhukay
Jos Luhukay

Worst-case scenario, the record could have been LLLLLL.

Instead, it reads DLWDDW.

Owls manager

Owls manager

Midway through September, Sheffield Wednesday embarked on their toughest run of fixtures of the season.

Nearly all of the Championship's big guns were coming up, one after the other, in a daunting seven-game spell that would define their season.

Stoke City couldn't beat them, neither could Leeds United or West Bromwich Albion. Aston Villa were toppled and so were Bristol City. Only Nottingham Forest were able to better them.

That's why the Owls - with only Middlesbrough left to face before their schedule of fixtures eases - deserve the play-off spot they moved into by seeing off the Robins in the South West in their final match before the international break.

Adam Reach

Adam Reach

It's an amazing achievement for a club who were unable to make a single permanent signing through the summer because of a transfer embargo and had accrued only one point after the opening three matches of the 2018/19 campaign.

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Manager Jos Luhukay, in his own undemonstrative way, is guiding Wednesday to heights few thought they were capable of when the the Profitability and Sustainability lock was turned in the Hillsborough arrivals door.

Quiet Jos. Quiet, strong Jos, unafraid to upset the senior players who don't buy into his methods and ready to back those who do. Quiet, strong, successful Jos, brave enough to put his trust in young talent who will embrace the Luhukay way.

So, after 12 games, Wednesday find themselves in sixth spot. The defence still needs work but is improving, the kids, generally, have stepped up, Barry Bannan has been Barry Bannan and only five teams in the division have scored more goals.

Much of the Owls' attacking threat comes from the player who has done more than any other to inspire them during the September/October test of their credentials: Adam Reach.

Long-range wonder goals against Leeds and West Brom tell only half the story of the attacking midfielder with the calculating mind, stone-dead touch, Rolls Royce engine, knack of beating a man and ability to deliver the perfect pass or cross.

Bannan has been good, Reach even better. I haven't seen a more dangerous player of his type in the Championship this season ... signed for £5 million, Premier League quality and surely now worth three times what Wednesday paid Middlesbrough for him in 2016.

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Again, the Luhukay affect is paying off. 

"Under this manager, I seem to be in a good place," says Reach who has already matched his four-goal tally of last term . 

"I'm consistently playing more offensively now instead of switching to wing-back or full-back. He sees me more as an offensive player and that suits me. I'm happy."

Like the 25-year-old, most supporters are also happy.

Middlesbrough are at Hillsborough a week on Friday, then come trips to Queens Park Rangers and Birmingham City.

With Wednesday in this form, more chance of W or D than L.