Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay and emerging prospect Matt Penney met the media at the club’s Middlewood training complex before tomorrow’s home Championship encounter with West Brom. Here’s what they had to say.
No Barry Bannan (one-game ban): “We must take responsibility as a team to face the No 1 side in the Championship. West Brom deserve to be leaders. As a team, they are very stable. Our team is very flexible and has high tactical discipline so we can change formations. We must have a very good plan for tomorrow. It is a good chance, absolutely, to show we are not reliant on Barry. West Brom have quality but we must not be afraid.”
Injuries: Attacker Marco Matias will be out for a couple of weeks with his hamstring problem. A decision will be made today on centre-half Daniel Pudil (broken nose). Pudil is back in full training. “Marco is very frustrated. Before this injury, this was the best time for Marco while I have been here.”
Ash Baker: He trained at a low level yesterday after his leg injury. He hasn’t been ruled out for tomorrow.
Gary Hooper: The striker isn’t training because of his groin problem. “It will take a lot of time before he is available, a few weeks more.” More checks are taking place.
West Brom test: Luhukay expects the Baggies to be promoted. He says they are the best side in the division along with Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Swansea City.
10-game benchmark: Luhukay will wait until after Sunday’s match at Bristol City (12 games) before using the international break to properly analyse the Owls’ start to the season.
Sam Winnall: The striker is making good progress after a calf injury and could return to full team training on Monday. Midfielder Kieran Lee and central defender Joost van Aken are weeks away.
First-team football: “It was the step I needed next in my career. I’m grateful to the gaffer for throwing me into the mix. It’s a big call to throw youngsters into the first team. I’ve just tried to strip it down to any game and do what I do best.”
Difference between Academy and senior football: “The intensity and atmosphere is massive. The games are quicker. You live for big games like Aston Villa. You have to show the gaffer what you’re about.”
New contract (deal runs out next summer): “I’ve not really thought about it. I’m just focusing on the games and working hard. I’d love to sign a new deal with this club.”
Staying grounded: “My family would say I’m a down-to-earth guy. I’m quite relaxed. I just want to prove to myself, the gaffer and the fans that I’m good enough for this level. I’m a motivated kid.”
This season’s prospects: “Come the end of the season, we should be up there. It’s just about being consistent. Sheffield Wednesday are a big club.”
Jos Luhukay: “The gaffer has been bang on with me. He’s helped me on and off the pitch.”
Playing for the Owls: “It means a lot to come through the ranks. I’m quite a big Wednesday fan. My family are Chesterfield fans. I’m pleased I’ve made my family proud.”