Sheffield Wednesday must match Barry Bannan’s ambition if he is to stay long-term
The little magician in Sheffield Wednesday’s midfield. Without Barry Bannan’s contribution this season, the Owls would be nowhere the play-offs.
Bannan is an elegant footballer. He makes the team tick in the centre. Time and time again when the team have needed him, Bannan has stepped up and produced a moment of brilliance in the final third to help keep them firmly in the promotion hunt.
His dazzling performance have not gone unnoticed. Bannan bagged the League One player of the month award for March.
Read more: Sky Sports pundit makes huge Barry Bannan claim as Sheffield Wednesday star wins major EFL award
Boss Darren Moore told Yorkshire Live: “It is great to see him getting recognition and it shows the level he has been at. A couple of weeks ago he made his 300th appearance for the football club, which is excellent.
“To get the accolade is great for him and I don’t think anyone would argue with his contribution.
“Special praise to Baz. I have said well done to him and it is back to business for him in terms of the standards he has set.”
Bannan is at the peak of his powers. His displays have gone to a whole new level since Moore pushed him further forward. Bannan’s productivity has shot up – he has directly contributed to 18 goals. The captain’s armband has certainly not weighed heavily on him this season.
“With his ability, I wanted to utilise it as best as we possibly can for the team,” admitted Moore. “We have managed to get him further up the pitch and into areas where he can utilise his ability.
“As you have seen in moments this season, he has shown that special quality that he has and long may it continue. We will keep getting him into areas where we feel he can be a complete danger to the opposition.
“He is on top of his game and is in a good place. Baz is looking to perform consistently at that level game after game. If he is able to do that physically, then it will only be a wonderful thing for us here at Sheffield Wednesday with a player of that calibre and ability in the team.”
There is still a determination and desire on Bannan’s part to play at the highest level. He is a Championship player playing in League One. Wednesday are fortunate to have him.
Bannan felt an obligation to stay following relegation to the third tier and to try and lead the club back into the second tier at the first attempt. “Unfinished business” is how he described it.
Credit to Moore and his staff for taking Bannan’s game to new heights but the vultures will circle around Hillsborough this summer if the Owls fall short in their promotion quest. Championship clubs may look to pick off Wednesday’s best assets.
When asked if he thinks it would be difficult for the Owls to keep hold of Bannan should Wednesday fail to go up, Moore said: “I have not really thought about it like that to be fair. Why do I say that? Probably because I know how committed he is to the football club.
“With the football environment we have here and where Baz is at as an individual, I have never really had to worry too much about that.
“He has been challenged here. You have seen his goals and contribution to the team. You see the assists and energy he brings to the team.
“I would probably say he is playing some of his best and most consistent football that he has for a little while, which shows he has been challenged. It shows he has got the appetite.
“As a human being, he is a wonderful man. He has got unfinished business and you can see the football club matters to him. That only be a good thing for us here at Sheffield Wednesday.”
It is a huge period coming up for Bannan and Wednesday. The focus is on the here and now. Promotion is the number one priority.
But there is bound to be transfer speculation regarding Bannan in the summer following his stellar form. Yes, Bannan is under contract until 2023 but it is up to Wednesday to prove they can still match his ambitions.