Sheffield Wednesday: Workaholic Nuhiu told to keep grafting

Atdhe Nuhiu bursts past QPR defender Aaron Hughes.
Atdhe Nuhiu bursts past QPR defender Aaron Hughes.
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He is a fine team player who relishes closing down defenders and forcing them into mistakes.

But Sheffield Wednesday striker Atdhe Nuhiu has yet to turn his work rate off the ball into goals, having found the back of the net a meagre four times since moving to England.

The Austrian forward could have added to his tally in the last two appearances. He had a goal harshly ruled out for a foul against Birmingham City last weekend and Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Brian Murphy produced a superb first half stop to prevent his bullet close range header from crossing the line in midweek.

Nonetheless, Stuart Gray, the Owls head coach, is convinced the goals will soon start to flow for Nuhiu.

“I work with Atdhe every day,” he said. “He works his socks off. The only thing that is not happening for him at the moment is he’s not getting a break.

“He had a great header the other night and the ‘keeper pulled a worldie off.

“He just needs one to go in off his back side. I think it will do eventually.

“I think the fans appreciate the work and effort Atdhe puts in.”

Having confidently dispatched a penalty in the victory over Middlesbrough, it was no surprise Nuhiu wanted to take the controversial spot-kick that Wednesday were awarded against QPR. Unfortunately for Nuhiu, Chris Maguire is the Owls’ first-choice penalty taker.

Gray has told Nuhiu to maintain his hard-working performances as they prepare to lock horns with their South Yorkshire neighbours Doncaster Rovers.

“Atdhe knows if he stops working hard that he will not get his break,” he said. “He is doing a lot of hard work outside of the box.

“He is a focal point for the two to three men around him. His ball retention is great and that allows us just to unlock the door in other areas.”

As the season has progressed, Nuhiu’s hold up play in the final third has continued to improve. He is gradually adapting to the rigours of Championship football and Leon Best is enjoying playing alongside him.

“It is good playing up front with Atdhe,” said the Blackburn loanee. “He works hard and he’s very good at what he does.

“He is a good player. He links with me well. He scored a perfect goal at the weekend that was disallowed.

“Atdhe helps me so much. He’s very unselfish. It’s a good thing your partner wants you to score.”