Daniel Pudil will be like a new signing for the Owls in the second half of the Championship season.
That is the verdict of head coach Carlos Carvalhal as Wednesday continue to finetune their preparations for the Boxing Day trip to leaders Newcastle United.
Although Pudil has started the Owls’ last two fixtures, it has been a frustrating campaign for the left-back. By his own admission, the Czech Republic international has struggled for consistency due to niggling injuries.
“We haven’t seen the real Daniel in the first part of the season,” Carvalhal told The Star. “I think he will improve game by game.
“Daniel will be like a new player in the second half of the season.”
Carvalhal believes Pudil, snapped up on a permanent basis in July after a productive loan spell last term, has been playing catch-up since the start of the campaign.
He said: “We signed Daniel late and he had only trained for five days and he played against Port Vale in a friendly game.
“He started to play in the team but it was not enough (time) to be ready.
“It would have been better for us if he had stayed with us in the international breaks so he could train more and prepare more for the competition.
“But the problem was Daniel would go away and play for the national team.”
When Pudil last went away to play for his national team in November, he picked up a minor injury in the Czech’s friendly draw with Denmark.
Carvalhal said: “It was very bad to Daniel and it created a big damage. He played the last game in the snow and he came back to us completely destroyed.
“He had a small pain and was physically very bad after that game.”
The knock ruled Pudil out of Wednesday’s trip to Fulham, with Adam Reach deputising at full-back.
With Reach filling in admirably, Pudil was forced to settle for a place on the substitutes bench for fixtures with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Preston North End and Reading. He was handed a first-team recall against Barnsley last week.
“When Daniel came back, we gave him some time,” admitted Carvalhal. “He was ready to play at Reading but not with full confidence.
“We didn’t want to take risks and lose the player. We decided to put him in against Barnsley and I think he played very well.”