CAPTAIN Anthony Gardner has hailed Leroy Lita as a key component in the Owls revival.
The on-loan Swansea striker helped to extend the club’s unbeaten league run to seven games by scoring his third goal in five matches with his winner against Crystal Palace.
“Leroy is a quality striker,” said Gardner. “You create a chance for him, he’ll stick the ball in the back of the net.
“I’m not surprised he did that; I’m only surprised he didn’t score two; when he was clean through I thought it was wrapped up for us.”
Only a good save by Palace keeper Julian Speroni prevented Lita making it 2-0 in a breakaway in stoppage time.
Gardner added: “He’s a proven scorer, an excellent acquisition for the club.
“As a defence, and probably in the midfield, you know if you keep it tight at the back, there’s always a chance he can relieve the pressure on the team by scoring a goal.
“You need that in every team, because it’s pretty hard defending for 90 minutes and trying to keep a clean sheet. Goals win games; you need to stick the ball in the net, so with him and Connor (Wickham) coming in, we’ve got a lot more threat down the middle of the pitch.”
The win put the Owls on 40 points, and Gardner said: “We probably need another four or five wins (to be safe). I think if we get those we’ll be pretty comfortable.
“If teams around us are winning as well, it may be more, but if we keep our form as it has been for the last six weeks, I think we’ll be okay.”
The centre half also hailed a “good team performance” against promotion-chasing Palace, his former club, who got into the game more in the second half.
He said: “In the first we were trying to stamp our authority on the game. Our tempo was probably a bit quicker than in the second half. When you’re fighting for points, sometimes you can’t expect to play pretty football.”