Sheffield Wednesday: 'The lads love him to bits' - Lee Bullen pays tribute to Owls striker

Cometh the hour, cometh Atdhe Nuhiu.

By Dom Howson
Thursday, 29th August 2019, 9:45 am
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 1:48 am

The giant striker bagged a 96th minute winner in the Owls' hard-fought Carabao Cup triumph at Rotherham United on Thursday evening.

It was the first goal of the campaign for Nuhiu, who also caught the eye as a late substitute at Preston North End last weekend.

Lee Bullen, the caretaker Wednesday manager, told The Star: "I was delighted for the big man.

Atdhe Nuhiu netted a late winner versus Rotherham United

"He had a very good impact in the game at Preston when he came on there and he again worked his tail off for 90 minutes against Rotherham and got a little break in the end."

Nuhiu is one of the longest-serving players on the Owls' books and has racked up almost 240 appearances since moving to Hillsborough in the summer of 2013.

"I don't know why people have got such a love hate relationship with the big man," conceded Bullen. "He is so effective.

"I spoke to Alex Neil after Saturday and he said 'that big guy causes absolute mayhem every time he goes on.'

"Listen, he knows his limitations and I think that's important for any player, but he also knows his strengths. He has got such a strong mentality.

"People question and knock him down every time but he has been here six years and has got so many appearances for the club.

"He loves the football club and he was the man to pop up with the goal in the 94th or 95th minute.

"The lads love him to bits. He is brilliant to have around and he can be so effective."

Victory over the Millers sets up a plum third round tie with Premier League Everton next month. The result vindicated Bullen's decision to make nine changes and rest some of his big guns ahead of Saturday's meeting with Queens Park Rangers.

Bullen said: "I was always planning on making nine changes.

"To be fair, after the result at the weekend, it was probably a bit of a gamble and I understood that but we were looking at the bigger picture and making sure that the boys had competitive game time.

"There were two or three lads that have not had a look in other than in training so it was important for them to get minutes under their belt.

"With hindsight, it was the right decision. But if we had lost the game, people would have been saying we shouldn't have done it. I know I would have put a little bit of pressure on myself if I hadn't got the result.

"But in the end we got the result and sometimes you have to be brave with decisions like that. It is part and parcel of the job.

"I was looking at it from a bigger point of view in ensuring that people like [David] Bates, [Massimo] Luongo, Nuhiu and [Jordan] Rhodes got minutes under their belt and I am delighted to say we were proved right in the end.

"We have got 20 to 22 players who are capable of going into the team and giving us a positive shift."