As the old saying goes, one man’s misfortune is another’s opportunity.
With skipper Glenn Loovens facing up to two months on the sidelines after suffering an ankle injury in training last week, Kamil Zayatte has been handed a chance to resurrect his Sheffield Wednesday career.
The 29-year-old, formerly of Hull City, Turkish side Istanbul BB and Swiss outfit Young Boys, was a surprise starter against Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend. He returned from Africa Cup of Nations duty with Guinea on Friday, February 6, and was given a run-out in Owls’ development match at Huddersfield Town last week.
Most people assumed Gray would stick with Claude Dielna at centre-back versus the Seagulls but he decided to give Zayatte his first start since September 30.
It was a big ask to throw Zayatte back into action following a lengthy absence but he delivered an assured performance alongside Tom Lees as Wednesday recorded their 16th clean sheet of the season.
“I was pleased with the way Kamil performed,” Gray told The Star. “He was excellent and I thought it was a good battle between him and Leon Best.
“Kamil and Tom [Lees] complemented each other very well.”
A series of injury problems have hampered Zayatte, who’s contract runs out in the summer, this season. A hamstring injury, sustained against Ipswich Town, ruled him out for several months.
Indeed, Zayatte failed to make a single appearance for Guinea in the Africa Cup of Nations due to a leg injury as they bowed out at the quarter-final stage.