The stats that show how important Adam Reach is to Sheffield Wednesday
When Sheffield Wednesday need a creative spark or moment of inspiration, it is increasingly Adam Reach that they turn to these days.
The versatile star, an ever-present in the Championship, has contributed nine goals and five assists in all competitions this season.
His first half double against Swansea City paved the way for Steve Bruce’s first home victory in charge of the Owls.
Steven Fletcher, Reach’s teammate, told The Star: “He is brilliant.
“He works his socks off. If you see the stats, he runs the furthest of everyone in every game. I’m glad he got his two goals (against Swansea) because he has had a few chances recently but he is one of my good mates so I can have a go at him for that!
“They were two great finishes. His left foot is fantastic and he passed it into the corner for the first goal. Anyone would have been proud of that finish.”
It is hard to argue that Reach, Wednesday’s joint top-scorer along with Lucas Joao, is the Owls’ new go to man.
“He is a great player and is massive for us,” admitted Fletcher. "”He is finding himself now and knows his position.
"”I think when he first came in people didn’t really know where he played but now I think he has found his best position on the right wing cutting in from there.”
Bruce, unbeaten in five matches as Wednesday boss, has deployed Reach on the right hand side of midfield in recent weeks. Describing his performance on Saturday as “wonderful”, Bruce has explained his thinking behind changing Reach’s role.
He said: “He can go both ways and, when he cuts in on his left foot, he has a wonderful delivery and how often do you see it these days when you see wingers play on the opposite side?
“Robert Snodgrass was the ideal one that I had at Aston Villa. He loved to play on the right hand side because he could come back in on his left and Reachy has certainly got that. I think he enjoys playing on the right.”
If Reach maintains his impressive form, the Owls could have a job on their hands retaining his services come the summer when the transfer window reopens. Reach, who has two years left to run on his Wednesday contract, was the subject of interest from Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers last August.
Fletcher said: “It is important, of course, to keep him.
“The chairman is very ambitious and I don’t think he will let his assets go or he won’t let them get go very quietly.”
It promises to be a busy close season for Wednesday, with nine senior players out-of-contract. Given their financial constraints due to Profitability and Sustainability regulations, Bruce is well aware of the big rebuilding job required.
"It is hard for the gaffer to come in half way through the season and implement his way of playing," conceded Fletcher. "I think slowly he (Bruce) is putting things into place.
"I think there will be a lot of changes this summer. We get used to it fast as footballers."
On working with Bruce, Fletcher said: "He is great.
"The gaffer is upbeat and always has a laugh with all the lads.
"He was a player himself and a very good one at that. He had a great career himself so he knows the game inside out.
"He spoke to me the other day (about my role). He knows what I am about.
"He has seen me a lot and I have played against him a lot of times for other clubs.
"There are a few players he has not had the pleasure of seeing yet and they will get a chance as well. It is down to us to take our chance when it comes."
Buoyed after his stunning overhead kick against Swansea, Fletcher is expected to lead the line when the Owls host mid-table Brentford.
He said: "I am happy with how I am playing. I feel good.
"It is the best I have physically felt in a long time. The knee injury hampered me for a good two to three years so I'm glad that is out of the way and I can go on the pitch not actually worrying about anything.
"We are creating a lot of chances now so hopefully I can take them."
Fernando Forestieri is in contention to play, having completed a one-match suspension for his sending off at Rotherham United. He could partner Fletcher up front, with Lucas Joao making way.
Scotland international Fletcher said: "There has been a lot of strikers ever since I have been at the club. It is good for us.
"I am lucky to be a big part of the team now so I'm happy."
But he knows he can ill-afford to drop his standards, saying: "You have to keep pushing yourself, especially as you get older.
"You don't want the manager thinking 'that's him now, he is done and dusted'. I have to keep going. I want to play for as long as I can so I am going to do everything I can to stay in his plans.”