Sheffield Wednesday: How injured Joost van Aken has helped new Owls arrival

Defender Joost van Aken
Defender Joost van Aken
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There is a growing Dutch contingent at Hillsborough - and new boy Joey Pelupessy has thanked his fellow countryman Joost van Aken for helping him settle into life as an Owls player.

Defender Van Aken, currently sidelined by a hamstring injury sustained in the Boxing Day victory over Nottingham Forest, knows Pelupessy, having played against him in Netherlands youth football.

Midfielder Joey Pelupessy

Midfielder Joey Pelupessy

“Joost has helped me in Sheffield,” Pelupessy told The Star. “Every day he has taken me from the hotel to the training ground.

“I have no car so I am very grateful he’s here.”

Pelupessy said he exchanged messages with van Aken after learning of Wednesday’s interest in his services.

He said: “I got some messages from Joost; we played against each other in youth teams, so that was easy to talk with him.

“I had a great feeling. He was positive about the club so I had good reasons to come here.”

Van Aken is among 10 first-team players unavailable for selection through injury and he is unlikely to return to action until next month.

Pelupessy, an unused substitute in Saturday’s goalless draw with Cardiff City, said: “Joost is a really good player. He can play left-back, but also centre-half, and I think in the centre he can do better.

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“He can play good football, but also be an aggressive defender. This has been a good step for him to come to Wednesday.”

Defensive midfielder Pelupessy says he has fulfilled a lifelong ambition in moving to England.

After watching the Owls record a third successive clean sheet under manager Jos Luhukay, Pelupessy said: “I found out a week ago of the move, I was interested, so I am happy it’s done.

“I always wanted to play in England. It’s a great club, nice team-mates, and the coaches.

“The atmosphere (against Cardiff) was amazing for a drawn game, if they are winning it will be crazy.”

Pelupessy, a £500,000 buy from Eredivisie side Heracles Almelo, has described the qualities he will bring to Wednesday’s midfield engine room.

He said: “I am aggressive, win balls, make tackles. But also I am a ball player.

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“In Holland, I think we have to play a little bit more football than in England, but this is my big chance.”

The 24-year-old, formerly of FC Twente, is keeping his fingers crossed he will make his Owls debut in their FA Cup fourth round clash with Reading on Friday.

“I hope to make my debut on Friday,” said Pelupessy. “I was hoping against Cardiff, but I only trained once. Maybe Friday is my big chance, I hope so.”

Injury-hit Wednesday sit in 17th position after recording just one victory from their last 12 Championship matches. Luhukay’s side trail Sheffield United, who occupy the final play-off position, by 14 points.

“I have only been here a few days, but you have to win a lot of games to maybe get closer to the promotion teams,” said Pelupessy. “First, we have to win some games and (against Cardiff) it was a good start, against a team in third place.

“If we can win games against teams around us, hopefully we can grow in this competition until May.”

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