SAM’S UP THERE WITH ACE AGUERO

Owls sign­ing chas­ing Ser­gio’s goal haul

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Ben Baker

BACK in Jan­uary, Sh­effield Wed­nes­day signed a striker that only Ser­gio Aguero and Ross McCor­mack had outscored since Au­gust 2013.

No, not Jor­dan Rhodes, but Sam Win­nall – and the former Barns­ley man is con­fi­dent he is work­ing hard to get back among the goals as the Owls push for pro­mo­tion to the Premier League.

At the time of mov­ing across York­shire on Jan­uary 13, Win­nall was ranked third in terms of league goals in Eng­land’s top four di­vi­sions from the start of the 2013-14 campaign.

He had banged in 64, with McCor­mack one ahead over that pe­riod and su­per­star Aguero out in front with 73.

But, de­spite be­ing joined at Hills­bor­ough by Cham­pi­onship hot­shot Rhodes, on loan from Mid­dles­brough, shortly af­ter, the 26-year-old has added just one more goal to his tally in 11 Owls out­ings. That came in a 3-0 win over Birm­ing­ham last month.

Rhodes, who will cost Wed­nes­day in ex­cess of £10mil­lion at the end of the sea­son, has net­ted only three times in ten ap­pear­ances him­self, but the Owls are still fly­ing high as they sit sixth, al­beit slightly wob­bling of late.

And, while Win­nall ad­mits that re­sults are ul­ti­mately all that mat­ters, the former Wolves acad­emy prod­uct is work­ing hard to get back on Aguero’s tail.

Im­prove

“I am en­joy­ing it at Wed­nes­day so far,” he said. “It is a mas­sive club, a club that is very well sup­ported and has great fans.

“I am en­joy­ing the chal­lenges it pos­sesses in re­gards to get­ting my­self into the team, with the strength in depth we have.

“I al­ways try to work hard and im­prove – and that is what I am do­ing at Sh­effield Wed­nes­day. I al­ways chal­lenge my­self to score goals and I have done that from a young age.

“I am hop­ing I can get as many as I can be­tween now and the end of the sea­son to push up to­wards pro­mo­tion.

“As a striker, you are never sat­is­fied with how many goals you get.

“If you have ten, you want 12, and if you get 12 you want 15.

“So, I will con­tinue to push my­self and work hard and, hope­fully, that hard work will see me get more goals. It’s still rel­a­tively new at the mo­ment, but I am en­joy­ing the part­ner­ship with Jor­dan.

“I think we com­ple­ment each other with our styles of play and things are look­ing good.

Show­piece

“The more time we have to­gether, the bet­ter we will be. “When I signed, the me­dia spec­u­la­tion was all about Jor­dan, but he is a great player and we were all de­lighted when he signed. It is great to have a player of his class at the club push­ing us on.” Win­nall’s goal­get­ting at Barns­ley helped the Tykes go from League One to the Cham­pi­onship last sea­son, the striker fin­ish­ing with 23 goals as Mill­wall were beaten 3-1 in the play-off fi­nal. Though he didn’t score in that show­piece, Win­nall also en­joyed another Wem­b­ley suc­cess last term as Barns­ley beat Ox­ford United 3-2 in the John­stone’s Paint Tro­phy fi­nal.

And the front man is hop­ing to carry that hot streak over to Sh­effield Wed­nes­day as they chase that play-off spot.

“The high­lights of your ca­reer al­ways come in pro­mo­tions and suc­cesses,” he added.

“I had two al­ready and I am hop­ing to get a third this sea­son with Sh­effield Wed­nes­day.

“It ob­vi­ously helps to have that ex­pe­ri­ence of win­ning in the play-offs but we have got to get there first.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

NUM­BER ONE: Ser­gio Aguero SEC­OND: Ross McCor­mack BLUE HEAVEN: Sh­effield Wed­nes­day’s Sam Win­nall cel­e­brates scor­ing against Birm­ing­ham City and, inset, Jor­dan Rhodes

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