Lees hopes Owls tie down midfield dynamo

Barry Bannan
Barry Bannan

Centre-half Tom Lees has called on Sheffield Wednesday to tie Barry Bannan down to a long-term contract following the midfielder’s superb start to his Owls career.

Bannan, a free transfer addition from Crystal Palace, has been one of Wednesday’s stand-out performers in their 11-match unbeaten run, leading to him being nominated for the Championship October Player of the Month award.

Tom Lees

Tom Lees

The Scotland international has already established himself as a crowd favourite but his present deal is set to run out at the end of the season.

Lees told The Star: “When Barry [Bannan] signed, I knew he had real ability so I was excited to see what he would offer. Straight away it became clear that he was a top player.

“I have been pleasantly surprised to see how hard he works off the ball. A lot of players with his ability, vision and passing range usually have one side to their game where you have to carry them a bit but not with Barry. His work rate is phenomenal so that’s good to see.”

“It is probably a gamble on both sides when you sign a one-year contract with a club,” added Lees. “If it doesn’t go so well, it is probably in the club’s favour.

“Barry is playing well and I hope we do tie him down. It would be important going forward but that’s not for me to comment on.

“It is clear to see that he is a player we would like to keep at the club.”

Bannan and company head to the capital on Saturday aiming to heap more misery on second-from-bottom Charlton Athletic. The managerless Addicks have gone 12 matches without a victory and are currently four points shy of safety.

“It will be a dangerous game as they are on a run that is on the other scale to ours,” said Lees. “It is a potential banana skin.

“When you are winning, it is very easy to keep things going. But we know what it is like when you lose games. You almost work 10 times harder during the week to prepare and everyone is up for it a little bit more.

“Charlton are going to have to put an end to their run at some point but hopefully it won’t be Saturday and we can go into the international break in the play-offs.

“We have to approach it professionally and not get carried away. It would be nice to get to the international break with our unbeaten run intact.

“We have kept clean sheets and we do look a threat going forward. We probably have our style of play nailed on a bit more.

“It is clear to see how vital the middle of the park is and how we are doing in there. We have got that intensity to our pressing now, sharpness to our passing and the way we counter attack teams.”

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