GARY Madine insists that the Championship holds no fears for Sheffield Wednesday and he looks upon the Yorkshire derby against Leeds on Friday as a chance for the club to kick-start their season.
The striker admits that confidence may have suffered during the spell of seven defeats in eight games after earlier hopes of a challenge for the play-offs.
But he has still faith in the ability of the squad.
“Looking at our group of lads at the start of the season, it looked as if we weren’t going to be far away,” he said.
“Confidence might have dropped a bit. But there are a lot of good players here waiting to shine,
“When we play Leeds, hopefully it’s going to kick-start our season. We have quality all over the pitch, including Michail Antonio - he can beat a man and put the ball on someone’s head.”
Madine also hopes for a chance to help the team after being mostly a sub this season:
“I’ve never had a run in the Championship. I’m absolutely itching for one. I haven’t seen much that I need to be scared of. Hopefully my chance will come soon,” he said.
The scorer of 18 goals in the promotion season conceded that Jay Bothroyd has greater experience and Chris O’Grady has made a mark.
Madine issued a reminder that he is still around when he hit two goals in the 3-2 win against Sheffield United for an Owls development side coached by Lee Bullen.
“He’s a man I have a lot of respect for, “ says Madine.
“It was a case of going out there and putting the effort in.”
Madine also made news by passing up the chance of a hat-trick, by allowing his young strike partner, Caolan Lavery, to take a penalty.
“I probably should have taken it, but I thought he needed a goal more than I needed to score a hat-trick in an under-21 game,” he said.
“Unfortunately for Caolan, he missed, but hopefully he’ll take the next one and stick it away.
“He’s a breath of fresh air. He works hard, he’s quick, makes good runs and is a good finisher. I think he’s got a good future.”
In pondering his own prospects, Madine hopes to force hinself into the first team:
“All you can do is work hard, and you can only learn from Jay and our coach, Wilko [Paul Wilkinson], who was a striker,” he said.
“Hopefully I’m not too far off.
“I’m more than confident that if I play I’ll get goals: I showed that the other night. I had two chances and scored two goals.
“I’m ready and waiting. The gaffer knows I’m there.”