Sheffield Wednesday: Rejuvenated Atdhe Nuhiu looks to revive Owls career after Ipswich goal

Atdhe Nuhiu celebrates after his goal against Ipswich
Atdhe Nuhiu celebrates after his goal against Ipswich
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Atdhe Nuhiu hopes his dramatic late strike at Ipswich Town will resurrect his faltering Sheffield Wednesday career.

The big striker notched his first goal 43 matches to help the Owls come-from-behind and secure a draw in Suffolk.

Atdhe Nuhiu heads in the Owls' leveller at Ipswich

Atdhe Nuhiu heads in the Owls' leveller at Ipswich

His bullet header was the first time he had registered at club level since February 2016.

Having featured prominently in Carlos Carvalhal’s first year at the helm, Nuhiu has slipped down in the pecking order behind Gary Hooper, Steven Fletcher, Jordan Rhodes, Fernando Forestieri and Lucas Joao.

Nuhiu, a popular figure in the dressing room, has struggled to command a regular first-team spot over the last 18 months. He made just two Championship starts last year and his five appearances this time around have come as a substitute.

“It was very satisfying for me to score as I haven’t been playing at all basically,” he told The Star. “It has not been easy at times.

Atdhe Nuhiu is embraced by Owls coach Bruno Lage

Atdhe Nuhiu is embraced by Owls coach Bruno Lage

“Most people thought I was dead but I’m still breathing.

“It was just a goal. Nothing more, nothing less. I was happy to score but I was more happy that we got a point. That is actually what counts.

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“I hope it (the situation) changes. I will keep working hard and see where that takes me.”

Nuhiu nodded in Adam Reach’s sublime cross to open his goal-scoring account for the season. It was his first attempt on target in Championship since April 2016.

“It was a great ball from Reachy and with those of kinds of balls that is where the striker needs to be,” said Nuhiu. “Thankfully it went in and it brought the team a point.”

The 28-year-old refuses to criticise Carvalhal over his lack of game time, saying: “At the end of the day, it is his choice.

“I have been working in the past weeks and months with the manager. It’s his decision. Until Ipswich, he hadn’t picked me much. I hope it changes.

“I’m very happy I could help the team with the goal that I scored but it is still the manager’s decision. If he thinks now that I have the ability to play, then, of course, I will be very happy. It is his decision. I can’t do more than what I’m doing in training.”

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The Kosovo international admits it has been difficult to keep himself mentally going.

“It has been a hard time,” said Nuhiu. “I haven’t played much. It was not an easy situation.

“I want to say thank you to the national team coach because he kept calling me when I haven’t played. He believed in me.

“I basically went over there to try and get my game and work in a positive environment.”

Nuhiu said he has not spoken to Carvalhal about his situation.

He said: “I’m not a person to go an ask why (I’m not playing).

“The manager sees me every day in training. If the coach decides to pick me, he picks me. If he doesn’t, it’s his decision and is to be respected. Even if it is hard and not nice, I respect his decision.”

His Owls contract runs out next summer.

When pressed on his long-term future, Nuhiu said: “I haven’t really thought about it. I am more focused on trying to get into the team. I’m going to try and get as much game time as I can between now and the end of the season.

“My contract is up in the summer but I will keep trying to do my best like I have always done.”

In scraping a draw at Portman Road, Wednesday moved up to 11th and extended their unbeaten run to five matches.

Nuhiu said: “The game was not as good as we wanted it to be. We were happy to get the point but we all know we can play much better. There’s no doubt about that.

“Ipswich are a tough team and fight a lot. In the end, we still drew the game and it shows there is fire in the team and the team still has character. Sometimes big teams get something out of games even when they don’t deserve to.

“We need learn from the Ipswich game and look to improve. The point gives us confidence but we need to analyse the game and see where we can do better.”

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