Back-in-form Jacques Maghoma has predicted new signing Lewis Baker will be a “great asset” in Sheffield Wednesday’s quest to gategrash the Championship top six.
The teenage midfielder, recruited on a youth loan deal from Chelsea last week, made his Owls debut in Saturday’s 2-0 success at Nottingham Forest, coming on as a late second half substitute.
Baker, an England Under-20 international, is poised to remain with the Championship club until the end of the season.
Head coach Stuart Gray said he had been chasing the 19-year-old for six months, claiming Wednesday beat off stiff competition for his signature. Forest are understood to be one of the clubs who were interested in Baker’s services.
Given Jose Semedo and Kieran Lee’s impressive performances in the middle of the park, Baker may have to patiently wait to make his first start in Owls colours.
But Maghoma has liked what he has seen from Baker in the short period he has been with the club and believes the youngster is capable of making a key contribution in their promotion charge.
“Lewis is very comfortable on the ball,” Maghoma told The Star. “He’s a good, two footed player. I think he is going to be a great asset for us in the coming weeks and months.”
Competition for places is hotting up at Hillsborough. Joe Mattock and Sam Hutchinson have recovered from groin and knee injuries respectively and were named on the bench against Forest while Giles Coke and Lewis Buxton are edging closer to making first-team returns.
Maghoma said: “It is always good when other people come in. It helps and pushes us together.
“Mentally you think to yourself you have to keep working hard and maintain your performance levels on the pitch if you want to stay in the side.”
Following three successive matches on the road, Gray’s men are preparing for back-to-back home clashes versus Bolton Wanderers and Birmingham City as they look to crank up the pressure on their play-off rivals. Wednesday sit ninth position after 25 fixtures, just four points adrift of the top-six.
“You can say Bolton is a must win game for us but we have to take it one step at a time,” insisted Maghoma. “First things first, we have got to concentrate on our performance and everything else will take care of itself.
“Things are looking good. Individually our performances are improving and we are linking up and understanding each other well.”