In a way, Daniel Pudil’s fortunes on the pitch have mirrored that of his team.
It has been a season full of ups and downs for the defender and Sheffield Wednesday.
As he freely admits, he has struggled for consistency.
Pudil lost his starting spot following the Owls’ hard-earned win at Nottingham Forest in February. It proved to be the his last outing for seven weeks, with boss Carlos Carvalhal deploying Morgan Fox and Adam Reach at left-back.
It was a frustrating period for the Czech Republic international, who was not involved in Wednesday’s next eight fixtures.
But since returning to action against Newcastle United earlier this month, Pudil has not looked back. He capped a fine comeback by collecting the man of the match award versus the promotion-chasing Magpies.
Pudil’s main job is to defend and he produced another steady showing in the Good Friday victory over Cardiff City as Wednesday racked up a 15th Championship clean sheet.
Things got even better for the 31-year-old on Easter Monday when he headed in the winner at Queens Park Rangers.
“The season has been like a rollercoaster,” Pudil told The Star.
“I have had some good games and then I haven’t played so well in one or two.
“I have not played a lot over the last six to eight weeks but that was the decision of the manager and I had to accept that.
“In those six to seven weeks, I just tried to do my best, get back into shape and wait for another chance to come along.
“The chance came against Newcastle and I’m just doing my best to try and be on the pitch as long as possible.”
Pudil blames fatigue for his patchy form in the first half of the season.
He said: “I don’t want to make excuses but I played a lot of matches last year.
“After the Play-Off Final, I went to the European Championship’s as well so I didn’t have many weeks off.
“I rejoined the team just before the start of the season so I didn’t have a proper pre-season. Maybe these things cost me a little bit and affected my performances.
“But that’s football and I just carried on supporting the guys in those weeks I didn’t play.
“I did my best in training and waited for another chance.”
Pudil is enjoying his football again.
“I feel alright,” he said. “I am trying to do my best in every single minute on the pitch.
“It was nice to score at QPR. I could have scored more than one but it doesn’t matter who scores the goals at this stage of the season.
“We played very well in the first half on Monday and should have scored more than two goals.
“We conceded a silly goal and were under pressure in the second.
“It was difficult for us but the most important thing is we picked up the three points.
“We showed our character. We battled for every single ball. We dealt with the crosses into the box and we are happy with how we are doing.
“When we have come under pressure to win games, we have stuck together and fought for each other. You could see that in the second half at QPR.”
Wednesday are one of the form sides in the division. Carvalhal’s charges are sitting pretty in fifth position following four straight victories.
Should the Owls pick up maximum points from their final three fixtures, the Hillsborough outfit will guarantee a top-six finish.
Wednesday meet sixth-placed Fulham on the final day of the regular season, but the Owls hope to have confirmed a play-off spot before then.
Pudil, who has made 25 appearances, hitting two goals, said: “Every single game in this league is a big challenge. Look at QPR. They had lost four in a row when we played them but they never gave up and played well. They probably deserved a little more from the game.
“We are still in the top six. There are three matches left. It is up to us now. We don’t have to worry about anyone else.”