The best has yet to come from Lucas Joao, believes Sheffield Wednesday chief Steve Bruce
Forward Lucas Joao has yet to reach his peak and his best football is still ahead of him.
That is the verdict of Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce ahead of their meeting with Championship strugglers Reading.
Portugal international Joao ensured Bruce made a winning start to his Owls reign by coming off the bench and grabbing a 90th minute winner against beleaguered Ipswich Town last weekend.
Joao's predatory finish took his goal tally to nine this season. Although the 25-year-old leads the way in Wednesday's goal-scoring charts, Bruce is convinced there is still more to come from Joao.
Bruce, who monitored Joao's development closely when he was in charge of Aston Villa, told The Star: "There is no doubt at all about his ability.
"He is still young. He is 25 and just about to come into his prime.
"I think the big thing is staying the course. I know he has been hit with injuries like everybody else, which is something we are going to have to address. It is ridiculous the number of serious injuries we have had over the last 12 months and it is something we will look into.
"But there is no question the kid has got talent. The Championship is a tough old league. Let's hope I can improve him."
The Owls host 22nd-placed Reading in Bruce's first home match in charge on Saturday. The Royals, managed by Jose Gomes, have won just once on the road this term. Gomes has picked up six points from his seven league fixtures since succeeding Paul Clement.
"They have had a little bit of a struggle over the last 12 months," said Bruce. "Under Jaap Stam, they were a very, very good side.
"They have got a new manager in and have some very good players.
"We all know sometimes in the Championship you can be at the bottom when you don't deserve to be.
"I have seen their squad and how they play so it will be another difficult game. They are an expansive football team and will try to come to Hillsborough and enjoy it."