Bannan has ability to make Owls march to his drum beat

Barry Bannan was singled out for praise by Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal ahead of facing Fulham (Picture: Steve Ellis).
Barry Bannan was singled out for praise by Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal ahead of facing Fulham (Picture: Steve Ellis).
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“You can have a good violin and piano, but without good drums you don’t have a team.”

This musical analogy was provided yesterday by Sheffield Wednesday’s head coach Carlos Carvalhal at his weekly press conference.

The Owls’ own leader of the band is prone to wax lyrical about footballing matters, brightening up even the gloomiest of January days at the club’s Middlewood Road training ground.

The Portuguese is one of football’s deep thinkers, and he normally shies away from praising individuals in his resurgent Wednesday team.

Which explains his musings yesterday about needing “good drums” in his team.

“They are all very important if you are to have good music,” he continued. “With just a violin, the music is boring. All the players are important. They have very good quality and are part of the team.”

Some would argue there are players who are more important than others.

One who falls into that category this season is midfielder Barry Bannan.

Since joining on a 12-month deal from Crystal Palace in August, the Scotland international has displayed the form which had his former Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier comparing him to Barcelona midfielders Xavi and Andrés Iniesta.

Extravagant? Definitely. Yet his non-stop running, on the back of intelligent passing and vision on the ball, have seen Bannan linked with a return to the Premier League.

However, he is close to signing a long-term contract at Hillsborough, music to the ears of Carvalhal.

“It is not in my hands,” he said. “It is in the hands of the chairman.

“I think he will be here. He likes it here. He likes to work with us. He likes being at Sheffield Wednesday and I’m sure that will be sorted.”

The Owls face Fulham tomorrow at Hillsborough in the third round of the FA Cup, and Carvalhal is likely to make numerous changes for the first of three home games in a week.

Players like Bannan, and midfield partner Kieran Lee, could retain their places, such is their ability to recover after games.

It is worth listening when Carvalhal highlights an individual, since it is a rarity.

So his analysis of Bannan yesterday was insightful and revealed how much the head coach rates his impish midfield dynamo.

“He can play anywhere,” said Carvalhal. “You could play him at centre-back and he could still do it. He would maybe have some difficulties heading balls.

“But he understands the game well so he knows what we want.

“When we put him in central midfield, we know he can control the rhythm of the game. He understands what he must do.

“If you put him in another line of the midfield, he can do very well as he has a good connection with attackers.

“If you put him on the right or left, he understands what he must do. He is important.”

Wednesday are waiting to hear if on-loan striker Gary Hooper will be given permission to play by parent club Norwich City.

Reports have suggested the Canaries are keen on a £3.5m sale, although Carvalhal is happy to leave contract talks with his chairman Dejphon Chansiri and his advisers.

“I don’t know at this moment,” he said. “Everything is in the hands of the chairman. I don’t know about contracts.”