The unsung hero of Wednesday’s midfield engine room is set to reach a big milestone when the team entertain Preston North End.
Fresh from being voted the Owls’ September Player of the Month, Kieran Lee is in line to make his 100th appearance for the Championship club at Hillsborough this Saturday.
Lee’s teammate, Atdhe Nuhiu, racked up his century versus Brentford last weekend.
It was over three years ago Lee opted to move to Hillsborough following four impressive seasons at Oldham Athletic.
Brought in by Dave Jones to increase competition for places on the right hand side of the team, Lee was converted into a central midfielder when Stuart Gray took charge of first-team affairs.
An area Gray called on Lee to improve was his goal output and the 27-year-old duly delivered, scoring six goals, including a memorable last minute winner in the Owls’ come-from-behind victory at Rotherham United in March. He described that strike as the highlight of his season.
His fine finish to the 2014/15 campaign culminated in him being handed a new two-year contract.
“I really enjoy getting forward,” said Lee. “I’m a box-to-box player with good stamina so I’m a bit of an all-rounder.”
Before his dismissal, Gray challenged Lee to kick on and to continue being a key cog in the centre.
However, there were question marks surrounding Lee’s long-term future when Wednesday bolstered their midfield department over the summer, bringing in Lewis McGugan, Alex Lopez and Barry Bannan.
But Lee has won head coach Carlos Carvalhal over with his performances on the training ground and the Portuguese threw him into the starting line-up for the televised clash at Leeds United last month. Since that first start, Lee has not looked back, becoming one of the first names on Carvalhal’s team-sheet.
“Kieran and Barry [Bannan] are the same,” said Carvalhal. “They have like an antenna in their heads. They understand exactly what the team need and are workers.”
Lee is an industrious, athletic player who snaps into tackles and keeps things ticking over nicely in possession. By adding goals to his game - he has netted once so far since Carvalhal’s arrival - Lee has developed into a real asset and one of the most improved players in the Championship.
Given the upward trajectory Lee is on, you wouldn’t bet against him making another 100-plus appearances in Owls colours.