Column: Bully for Lee and the British backbone of Carvalhal’s staff

Lee Bullen has proved to be a vital component of the Owls staff
Lee Bullen has proved to be a vital component of the Owls staff

Carlos Carvalhal is meticulous in his preparation for matches and has, quite rightly, earned a lot of plaudits for turning Wednesday into promotion contenders.

Only Harry Catterick can top Carvalhal’s 50 per cent win ratio as Owls boss. It has been a fine start to Carvalhal’s reign.

But as the Portuguese chief regularly points out, it is a team effort. His coaching and support staff have helped him adapt quickly to Championship life.

It seems a lifetime ago that the Owls explored the possibility of bringing in Mark Cooper to work alongside Carvalhal. (It was only seven months ago) Mike Marsh, now at Huddersfield, was also reportedly in the frame.

You could see what owner Dejphon Chansiri was trying to do. He wanted someone with experience and knowledge of English football to take the workload off Carvalhal.

The answer was right in front of him all along.

Not only is Lee Bullen one of the nicest blokes you could ever wish to meet, he also plays an integral role behind the scenes. The Scot is a Wednesday legend and knows the club inside out.

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A popular figure with the supporters and players, Bullen fully merited his promotion to the first-team coaching staff last October. Bullen, and goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes for that matter, are big personalities, keep spirits high in camp whether results are good, bad or indifferent, and provide that invaluable link between the British and Portuguese backroom staff.

As well as Bullen and Rhodes, there are other people who deserve recognition. Technical analyst Joseph Simmonds, performance director Andy Kalinins, sports scientist Jeremy Poulson, physios Paul Smith, Kevin Mulholland and Stephen Gilpin and kit man John Murray make key contributions on a daily basis to the Wednesday machine. Without all of them pulling in the same direction, things would not run anywhere near as smoothly.

There is a real togetherness and determination across the board to bring the good times back to Hillsborough. As Carvalhal puts it, he has played a big part in creating a “positive environment” where everybody enjoys coming into work. You can see that in the celebrations when the side scores a goal. They want each other to do well and have bought into Carvalhal’s philosophy.

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