Owls captain Glenn Loovens believes Fernando Forestieri will be a key man in their promotion run-in.
The striker, who has notched 15 goals since arriving in a £3m deal from Watford last August, is poised to spearhead Wednesday’s forward line in their play-off decider with Cardiff City on Saturday.
Carlos Carvalhal’s side are four points clear of the Bluebirds with two matches left to play. A point will book their place in the end of season lottery.
Loovens told The Star: “Fernando is a very big player for us, not just with his goals but his work rate up front. He works very hard and gives the team an extra dimension.”
Despite grabbing three goals in his last seven outings, Forestieri’s bookings have recently captured more of the headlines. He was harshly cautioned in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Derby County after a second half tussle with Richard Keogh.
Forestieri has also controversially been penalised for diving three times since February, leaving Carvalhal deeply frustrated by the situation. The Wednesday chief is demanding more protection for his star player.
Carvalhal said: “I appreciate the personality of Fernando because even with this again and before and before and before, with kicks and so on, he is still playing the same way with offensive aggresivity. He goes to the defenders and I appreciate that in my player. Usually the players in these conditions will protect themselves but Fernando never does this.
“It is why I must substitute him (at Derby). Because these kind of things have a big influence on the dynamic of the team. Fernando is playing well but in the last 10 minutes I must protect the player because if he has a similar situation and a second yellow card, he will finish the season.
“This situatuon, I cannot do more than I have done. I have alerted the persons. One day if someone broke the leg of the player, let’s see who has the responsibility.”