Sheffield Wednesday: New boy happy in old routine

It is just like old times for Anthony Gardner and Kamil Zayatte.

The Wednesday captain and the new signing are recreating the centre-back partnership that they enjoyed in the Premier League with Hull.

Kamil Zayatte polices Rotherham striker Matt Tubbs

Kamil Zayatte polices Rotherham striker Matt Tubbs

But Zayatte believes that it takes time to establish the understanding that they had before.

Both cost the Tigers fees of £2.5m when they moved from Spurs and Swiss club Young Boys respectively, between 2008 and 2009.

“We played together at Hull,” reflects Zayatte, who has just spent two years playing in Turkey. “Now we are trying to find the connection in training.

“For a long time we did not play together. In our (Wednesday) friendlies, I played with him only once.

“I think it is going to get better this week and game after game.

“He is a good player, and he talks to me on the pitch. I like playing with him.”

Zayatte, a French-speaking Guinea international, will be helped to feel even more at home when his family come from France to be with him next month:

“I stayed two years in Turkey without them; it was so hard for me. I need to be with my family again,” said the 28-year-old who played for Konyaspor and Istanbul BB after leaving Hull in 2011.

He has also had to readjust to the English game: “I left this country a long time ago. The first two games have been hard for me. But I keep my body well and try to be on the same level as the other players.”

It has been a mixed bag for him and the Owls: an encouraging start at QPR, though they lost, and a Cup crash at Rotherham:

“Tactically and mentally, we played well at QPR, better than in midweek.

“I don’t know what happened (at Rotherham). We tried to keep the same level. But every team in the Cup gives 100 per cent.

“Now we have a nice game where we can show everybody that the Cup tie was an accident. I can’t wait to show to the people that we are a good team and can be better.

“We are going to try to repeat the same level that we showed at QPR. I think we are going to do well on Saturday. If we play like we did at QPR, we can win this game.”

Zayatte says he is happy to be at Hillsborough and is optimistic about the new season.

“The gaffer and this team believe in me. They showed a lot of confidence in me by bringing me here. They showed me I am an important player in the team. I think I am going to do well.

“I need to believe in this project, and I will make something with this club.

“I think we have good players - we have young and old players.

“For me, we are going to be better game after game, but now we are trying to find a connection.

“Now we are out of the Cup, we need to focus on the Championship.

“I think we can make good performances and be a top team at the end of the season.”

Zayatte and Gardner today are likely to be up against a Burnley strike partnerhip of Danny Ings and Sam Vokes, with Vokes, who was signed from Wolves for £350,000 a year ago, having taken over from QPR’s £4m buy, Charlie Austin.

Clarets manager Sean Dyche has said that he does not have millions to spend: “We’ve got a small squad and we’ve got to use it wisely when appropriate.”