Sheffield Wednesday's Lee Gregory is playing some of the best football of his career
Lee Gregory is a 33-year-old striker. And usually, 33-year-old strikers picked up on a free transfer are on their way out and everything begins to slow down a touch.
Sheffield Wednesday brought Gregory in this summer – though in the spirit of accuracy he was 32 when he signed – offering the former Millwall man the opportunity to set up home in his home city after a middling effort at Stoke City.
It’s an opportunity he has leapt on, most regularly from six yards out. And it’s quite possible he’s the man Wednesday have been waiting for for some time.
One win over Sunderland does not paint sunshine and rainbows over S6 and there are large areas that Darren Moore and his players must work on to turn all-too-regular draws into wins and their promotion aspirations into reality.
But on the evidence of the 16 League One matches played so far, Wednesday have boxed-off a vital area plagued since the departure of Steven Fletcher went down with that knee injury at Brighton nearly two years ago. Lee Gregory is a goalscorer to build an attack around.
In a team that has scored only 20 goals in their 16 matches, Gregory’s stats are impressive. He has six goals and three assists in that time – a direct contribution to 45% of Wednesday’s goalscoring effort.
Indeed, only Ipswich Town forward Macauley Bonne (a remarkable 67.74%) has a better record of testing the goalkeeper, with Gregory boasting a shot accuracy of 57.69%.
Aged 33 he may be, but in terms of the strains of full-time football, Gregory has essentially had a 10-year career having only joined Millwall from part-time Halifax in 2011. There are plenty of miles in those legs.
“He’ll say there’s more to come as well,” Moore said. “He’s good for us in terms of how he plays and how he goes about it, but his experience for the younger players is huge for us. His performances have been getting stronger and stronger.
“When he first arrived we had to manage him because he’d come off the back of an injury but we’ve built him up now and he’s in good condition. He’s strong and he’s good such a big part to play this season.”