The quiet moments Barry Bannan will take ahead of another shot at Wembley with Sheffield Wednesday

At some time on Sunday evening, perhaps Monday morning, Sheffield Wednesday skipper Barry Bannan will close his eyes and place his mind into the centre-circle at Wembley Stadium.
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The 33-year-old is one of the most respected players in the EFL having already chalked up a hugely impressive career. With a new deal sorted and miles evidently still in the legs, there is plenty more to come from the Scotland international.

But appearances at the home of football don’t come around often and Bannan knows that having played there once with the Owls – a Championship play-off defeat to Hull City in 2016 – he is one of a few in the blue and white changing room that know what to expect from the occasion.

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A keen believer in sports psychology who has spoken previously about techniques he intends to employ ahead of big games, Bannan revealed he would be taking time to ‘self-visualise’ certain situations on the field.

Sheffield Wednesday captain Barry Bannan (centre) is looking forward to the Owls' trip to Wembley.Sheffield Wednesday captain Barry Bannan (centre) is looking forward to the Owls' trip to Wembley.
Sheffield Wednesday captain Barry Bannan (centre) is looking forward to the Owls' trip to Wembley.

It’s a technique used by elite athletes in all manner of sports to condition the mind to expect certain eventualities.

He said: “I was on the trampoline with my daughter at 7pm last night – jumping around thinking I’ve got a final in a few days – I shouldn't be doing this!

“My mind always wanders because I’m always one of those ones who plays the game in my head the night before.

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“I try to picture situations that I might find myself in so since we made the play-offs, my mind has wandered to walking up those [Wembley Stadium] steps and lifting the trophy.

“I’m a firm believer that if you can self-see things then they actually can happen. I’ve always been big for [visualising] before games. As much as I’m a family man, my mind always switches to football.”

Bannan arrived at Hillsborough something of a lost soul, his promising Aston Villa career over and after a flurry of short-term loan deals.

He’s spoken on a number of occasions about his passion for the club and the way the Wednesday family enveloped his loved ones.

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Bannan continued: “This is my eighth season now and they [Sheffield Wednesday] have taken to me from day one,” he said. “Even though I love football, I didn’t really know they were as big as they were until we went to Wembley the first time, I was like, ‘Woah, this is massive’.

“They’ve been brilliant with me since I’ve come here, been brilliant towards my family.

“The most important thing is that before I came here, I was in and out of teams but not really playing, sitting on the bench, travelling, and not making squads. Then I’ve come here and apart from the odd game here and there when

“I’ve been injured, but I’ve played almost every game.

“I got to about 23 and I was thinking, I just love football so much but I’m actually not doing what I love because I’m just going and watching, this club gave me it [the opportunity to play first team football], so I feel privileged and want to give back to them in the best way possible.”

Barry Bannan was speaking on the League Of 72 Championship play-off final special in partnership with Sky Bet.