Sheffield Wednesday: Atdhe Nuhiu must get to grips with new role

Atdhe Nuhiu
Atdhe Nuhiu

Atdhe Nuhiu must quickly adapt to his new role if he is going to get back on the goal trail for the Owls.

That is the verdict of head coach Stuart Gray who says the big forward should be disappointed with his lack of goals this season.

In recent weeks, Gray has opted to switch around Nuhiu and strike partner Stevie May so it is the Kosovo-born striker dropping deep to link-up play.

And while pleased with Nuhiu’s work and effort, Gray says he must remember that his primary job is to get into the box and hit the back of the net.

“Atdhe will be disappointed with his output in front of goal because that’s why he’s been brought to the football club,” Gray said.

“His overall team performances I’ve been delighted with.

“What I’ve stressed to him is his link-up play is great but once he’s given the ball he needs to sprint like mad to get into the box.

“I saw a couple of examples last weekend with Peter Crouch that Atdhe really should be trying to emulate.

“Crouch laid the ball off on half way and his next touch was putting it in the back of the net.

“Atdhe has to realise he needs to get between the posts as well.”

Gray explained the tactical switch with his strike force as a need to get the best out of both men.

In particular he believes the changes will allow May to nip between defenders to get through on goal, rather than being isolated

He said: “Stevie looks a lot better from getting in behind,

“We just switched the roles around to drop Atdhe into the link-up play position between Stevie May and the midfield.

“We feel Stevie’s legs can get us in behind more.

“Lewis McGugan put two top quality passes through for him last week.

“With all due respect to him, Atdhe probably needs more balls into his feet and he’s now in the best place for that.”

As he looks to increase his attacking options, Gray says Caolan Lavery is getting closer to being able to make more than just cameo appearances after recovering from knee ligament damage.

But he has also called upon the rest of the team to begin chipping in with goals as well.

Gray said: “Lavery is getting fitter and stronger which we’re seeing every day in training.

“I’ve also got the flexibility of sticking Chris Maguire down there as well.

“The problem is we really need goals from every department.

“Glenn Loovens had a great chance from a corner against Wolves that got us all up off our seats because we thought it was a goal.

“Getting a few goals from the defence or midfield would help us out.”

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