Sheffield Wednesday: Goal hero Barry Bannan urged to maintain stellar form

Barry Bannan celebrates his goal with teammate Lucas Joao
Barry Bannan celebrates his goal with teammate Lucas Joao

Captain Tom Lees has lavished praise on teammate Barry Bannan, claiming the midfield playmaker is in the best form of his Owls career.

Bannan produced a superb individual performance in Wednesday's pulsating draw with much-fancied Stoke City at Hillsborough.

The 28-year-old, who recently signed a three-year contract extension, played a key part in Marco Matias's goal before curling in a stunning free kick with eight minutes remaining as Jos Luhukay's team fought back from two goals down to secure a point.

It was Bannan's second goal of the season and the Scotland international has been their standout performer in the Owls' encouraging start.

For our Owls news and opinion on twitter follow here

"Barry is in great form, probably the best I have seen him at the club," Lees told The Star. "Hopefully that will continue. Everything seems to be going through him at the moment and he is doing really well."

On Bannan's glorious equaliser, Lees said: "We had everything crossed, just standing there watching Barry. You hope he can pull something out of the bag, and he did.

"We all know he has got that in his locker."

For more news from Hillsborough click here

Defender Lees also hailed the character and quality of Wednesday youngsters Jordan Thorniley and Matt Penney. Stoke, relegated from the Premier League last term, ran the Owls' defence ragged in the opening 20 minutes but academy graduates Thorniley and Penney stood up to the challenge well.

Lees said: "For Jordan and Matt, it’s the first time since they have come into the team, that they have faced a challenge which has really tested.

"Not just them, the whole team, but for the first 10 minutes we got given a tough time.

"It’s how you react to that, and I was really pleased with them, because you can go under. They didn’t."

Sheffield Wednesday's Under-23s head to Yorkshire rivals Leeds United tomorrow, kick-off 1pm.

Follow Dom Howson on twitter