Tony Pulis discussing Sheffield Wednesday captaincy with Barry Bannan ... but does he have much choice?
Tony Pulis admitted on Monday that he hadn’t at that stage had the opportunity to speak to Barry Bannan about the Owls midfielder’s captaincy at the club.
“I was going to talk to Barry and unfortunately he knocked the door when I had all the sports science and medical people in, so it's best that I speak to him first,” said Pulis.
You could look at that two ways. One, ominously, in that Pulis wanted to break bad news to him personally. Or, what would appear much more likely, he just wanted to speak to Bannan and have a chat with him about the future as captain and what he wants from him, rather than hear second hand through the media.
It’s much more likely for one reason… who else is there?
It’s widely believed that this Wednesday team is probably lacking in a bit of leadership and a quick look through the squad would indicate that there aren’t too many candidates to take the armband.
Tom Lees is the obvious one, but he had the captaincy taken off him for a decent reason by Garry Monk, in that the then manager wanted the defender to concentrate on his own game.
Aside from Lees, you would ordinarily be looking at players who have been around for a while – Adam Reach is the type of player who quietly goes about his business. So, too, Liam Palmer.
Julian Borner’s place is hardly nailed down, though of course that may change under a new boss, and the same goes for Joost van Aken, who nevertheless doesn’t strike you as a captain.
Joey Pelupessy is highly respected in the group, even if his qualities aren’t always seen by supporters.
The rest are either inexperienced or relatively new to the team and some of those are still trying to find their feet at the club.
Except for one, and he could be the only other candidate if Pulis was to look elsewhere for a skipper.
Massimo Luongo – tough-tackling, hard-working, driven and very popular, the midfielder, who is on the way back from injury going by the training ground pictures from Pulis’ first day, is possibly the only other player that you could look at and think likely to lead out the team. He has the air of a Pulis player.
That said, it would be a surprise if Pulis was to choose anyone other than Bannan.
In his first press conference on Monday, the new boss waxed lyrical about the 30-year-old who played under him at Crystal Palace but was allowed to leave as he didn’t quite fit in with the way Pulis had the team playing.
"Barry over the past three or four years, maybe longer than that has been one of the outstanding players in the Championship,” said Pulis. “His ability to dictate and control games is first class. He's a good kid, I like Barry. I have a lot of time for him.”
He added: “I came here and you look at players in the first training session and they look up to him. There is certainly a respect Barry is getting and he hasn't gained that because of anything more than his ability.”