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Barry Bannan interview: In-form Scot wants Premier League return
Owls midfielder has won the Sky Bet Championship Goal of the Month award for August
Last Updated: 14/09/18 11:53am
Barry Bannan has won the Sky Bet Championship Goal of the Month award for his volley against Millwall. Here, the Sheffield Wednesday midfielder explains why he is enjoying his football again...
August went well for Barry Bannan. Not only was he named as Sheffield Wednesday's player of the month but he also picked up the Championship goal of the month award for his sweetly-struck strike against Millwall. Having also signed a new contract that will keep him at Hillsborough until 2021, the 28-year-old midfielder could hardly be happier.
"I could not really ask for any more," he tells Sky Sports. "I am really enjoying my football at the moment and that shows on the pitch. The contract is a relief because going into the last year you start to think about how long you could have left. But the club have been brilliant for me and it is great to commit my future for the next three years.
"The goal was probably one of the best that I have scored in my career. It was just a great hit. I have been lucky to score some good goals but I would rather tap a few in and get my tally up. It just does not seem to work that way for me but scoring more goals is one of my targets this season so hopefully I can continue that."
Last year was a difficult one for Bannan. A groin problem meant that he missed the first few months under new manager Jos Luhukay and though the Scot's return to the Wednesday team coincided with a dramatic improvement in results, winning six of their last nine games, it's only now that he feels he is really showing what he can do.
"I feel fit," says Bannan. "Fitter than I have ever been. I got a good pre-season behind me and I am over the injury that plagued me last season. Towards the end of last season, I was still finding my way with my groin. I did alright but this season I have done very well so far and the manager and I have got to know each other a lot better.
"It was obviously hard for a foreign manager to come over and get used to a different division with different players. But he has been brilliant for me. We have had little chats in pre-season because I am one of the senior players now and we have got on really well. I know what he wants and he knows what I want. We have a good connection."
He has been brilliant for me. I know what he wants and he knows what I want. We have a good connection.
Barry Bannan on Jos Luhukay
Bannan's connection with another Dutchman, January signing Joey Pelupessy, has been integral to his recent form. "Joey has been brilliant since he came over from Holland," he adds. "Sometimes people take time to adapt to different leagues but Joey has come in and fitted in straightaway. I am enjoying my partnership with him.
"He is the complete opposite of me in terms of how we play so we are good for each other. It allows me to express myself further forward and he does the horrible bits that nobody likes to do. Joey is the perfect foil. I can't forget about defending but it allows me to focus on what I want to do which is score goals and make goals."
It is working. After that superb volley against Millwall, Bannan provided the assist for Lucas Joao's opening goal in the 2-1 win over Ipswich last time out at Hillsborough. The statistics show that he has created 15 chances so far this season - the second-most of any player in the Championship. Providing the ammunition for others is what he likes best.
"It is a bit weird that I am happier when I make a goal than when I score a goal," he admits. "It's probably not a good thing. I just get more satisfaction when I set up one of my team-mates. There is a big onus on me at Sheffield Wednesday to make things happen for the team. I like that responsibility and it drives me on in games."
All of which makes it a little curious that Bannan spent the international break watching the games on television rather than linking up with Scotland. He has 27 caps for his country but has not featured under his old Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish. "I have not heard anything since the new manager got the job," he reveals.
"I was injured for most of the time he had the job last season but this season I have played every game and I feel fit. I have not had the call but my main job is to work for Sheffield Wednesday and that's what I am concentrating on. If the call comes from Scotland then obviously I would be proud to represent my country again but if it doesn't then so be it."
With Wednesday in good form having won their last three matches, ignoring Bannan is unlikely to get any easier. The ambition is clear. "I want to be playing in the Premier League with this club," he adds. "Every player in the league would probably say the same thing, but we are confident because of what we have got in our changing room.
"We finished last season very strongly and didn't really want it to end. It just came a little too late but everyone was expecting us to come firing out the blocks this season. It didn't really happen for us and we got off to a slow start. But we took 10 points from four games before the international break and now we have won three in a row.
"If we can keep on doing what we are doing at the moment then hopefully we can do it. Of course, it is one thing speaking about it, it's another thing doing it. But we can't wait to get going again against Stoke on Saturday."