Sheffield Wednesday’s Tom Lees: Consistency and mental attitude will be key for success
Captain Tom Lees says mental strength and consistency on the pitch will be key if Sheffield Wednesday are to achieve promotion from the Championship.
The Owls reignited their play-off hopes with Tuesday night’s 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest, having been dealt a blow last Saturday by fellow top six candidates Aston Villa.
Wednesday will travel to automatic promotion chasers Leeds United this weekend, with every one of their remaining matches this season now a must-win if they are to keep pace and hope to sneak into the last play-off berth.
But should they fall short this year, skipper Lees says the Hillsborough side are in good shape to mount a serious challenge next season.
He told The Star: “We will keep going until it’s impossible but you’ve got to look at it since December and if we put a season of that form together we will go up.
“You come out and you see the results where teams have failed to win so we could have been a point off [if they had won against Aston Villa]
“Obviously you have got to look at how we have played since December and we have got to have that consistency, that strength and that mental attitude to see it through for the whole season.
“We need to play that high intensity, have a lot of energy, we just need put a season together with everyone staying fit really and be consistent week-in, week-out.
“There’s probably players that can handle that you know, that’s what the Championship is.
“It’s important and this year we will have a proper pre-season, a proper six weeks and we will have a good go at it so we will be ready.”
One player Lees is hoping to see in pre-season this summer is out of contract striker Gary Hooper, who started Tuesday night’s win on the bench despite scoring against Aston Villa.
Manager Steve Bruce revealed he opted to start Lucas Joao instead so as not to risk injury to Hooper, who is still regaining fitness after a 16-month injury absence.
Speaking of Hooper’s return, Lees said: “Really happy to see him back - his quality is there for everyone to see.
“He has had a tough time with his injury but he’s worked really hard and that’s as good a shape as I have seen him in so it’s really good.
“He’s one of many big decisions from now until the summer and we probably know more now what next season is going to look like, so we just need to see what decisions the manager and the chairman makes.”