PROMOTION teams need many attributes and Wednesday have them in their multi-talented team.
But it is a bit out of the ordinary when they have a centre-half who scores like a centre-forward and crosses like a left winger.
Miguel Llera is of course the man in question. The striker of a superb goal from a free-kick at Huddersfield added an expertly-taken header and a wonderful assist as the Owls completed a six-point Easter by seeing off Oldham yesterday.
His commanding defensive presence was also an influence in both victories and rarely has picking a Man of the Match been easier in two successive games.
“Miguel is a very, very good player and a good lad as well; he scored a great goal at Huddersfield and he’s got another one,” said Dave Jones, who now has some thinking to do, with Danny Batth having made a successful comeback and Rob Jones free from suspension.
The Owls manager admitted that two matches in three days also gave him food to thought about his team selection.
He made only one change, bringing in Julian Bennett for the injured Reda Johnson, and chose to stick with his strongest possible side and freshen it up with substitutions rather than tinkering with the starting line-up.
Keith Treacy, of whom little has been seen since his pre-deadline signing, came on for a tiring Jermaine Johnson with half an hour to go, to show calmness and hit two telling crosses, one a free-kick for Llera’s header, the other an assist for fellow sub Ryan Lowe to head home his 16th goal of the season with his first touch.
But the goal of the day was the opener. set up by Llera. He won the ball deep in his own half, ran down the left wing and played a brilliant ball for Gary Madine to bag his 18th goal of the season with a diving header from eight yards and net his reward for an industrious 90 minutes.
That was a 43rd-minute sickener for Oldham, who were true to boss Paul Dickov’s pre-match word by coming to have a go.
They passed the ball well at times in the first half but did not have the quality in the final third.
Wednesday too lacked ruthlessness for most of the first period and found it hard to regain the highs, the energy and the rhythm we saw at the Galpharm Stadium.
Oldham created two chances in the first eight minutes: a shot past the post from 25 yards by captain Dean Furman and a close-range header over the bar by Robbie Simpson.
Wednesday also had plenty of defending to do against free-kicks and corners in the
first 25 minutes. But they should have been ahead within that period. Michail Antonio intercepted a square pass midway in the Oldham half and ran straight down the middle with only Dean Bouzanis to beat but the keeper blocked his low drive.
A brave header by Lewis Buxton which left him hurt on the edge of the Oldham box resulted in a decent 38th-minute strike, by Chris Lines.
Oldham appealed unsuccessfully for a penalty when midfielder Tom Adeyemi was clipped by Llera - an accidental collision, I thought at the time, but after seeing it again on TV it was debatable.
Madine’s goal was just what the Owls needed; Buxton staying off at half time wasn’t. But Mark Beevers, who played soundly at left back after taking over from Reda Johnson in the 17th mniute at Huddersfield, did the same again, with Bennett switched to the right.
There seemed to be a few jaded minds and bodies after last Saturday’s exploits.
Jones reflected: “After playing in a derby, with all the tension and nerves, then you come down and have to go back up again, it’s hard going. Well done to them.”
Treacy had been on for only five minutes when he set up the second goal with a peach of a free-kick, swung in from the right with his left foot, to the near post where Llera guided home a header.
Treacy shot narrowly wide after a storming run from Antonio; Llera volleyed past the angle from 18 yards.
Jones freshened it up again by sending on on Ryan Lowe for Ranger, and the sub striker did not disappoint. A fine flick by Madine found Treacy; his cross was another beauty, this time from the left, and Lowe put away a downward header at the far post.
Jones also said: “To play two game in three days, at any level of professional football, is some going.
“It might not have been the prettiest of performances but it was a hard-grafted three points.
“They dug deep. They had to. We were getting fluids into them every time there was a break.
“Well done to not just to my players, but to my staff. It’s been a tough weekend.”