Atdhe Nuhiu provides welcome poser for Sheffield Wednesday chief
The Owls’ unbeaten streak under the Dutchman stretched to four matches on Friday night and after three workmanlike performances, a touch more attacking style and ruthlessness were provided in the 3-1 FA Cup win over Reading.
The strongest case for a start at the Riverside was made by two-goal Atdhe Nuhiu, although the eye-catching performance of Portugeuse winger Marco Matias was not too far behind as the pair await first starts in the league under Luhukay.
Nuhiu took his FA Cup tally to three goals in three matches this month with a double against the Royals, the big striker also having an impressive track record against tomorrow night’s opponents Boro.
Luhukay, who made seven changes for the cup tie with Jordan Rhodes, Lucas Joao, Ross Wallace and Joe Wildsmith among those named on the bench, said: “I have a lot of trust in my players and every day they work very hard and intensively and we could see that in the (Reading) game.
“These players can also play on Tuesday when they will be 100 per cent. But we also have players who were outside on Friday who can play in the first 11.
“In my time here, I know that the players can give a good performance if they are given chances. I can see the quality here.”
After witnessing cup victories over Reading and Carlisle United and hard-fought draws against two promotion-chasing sides in Cardiff City and Sheffield United, Luhukay says that he has also been impressed by the mindset and spirit of his players, who have taken on board all of his instructions pretty quickly in an encouraging start to his tenure.
The next building block is delivering a first league win, which Luhukay is hoping will arrive against a Boro side who have lost three of their past four matches on home soil in all competitions.
He added: “The atmosphere in the team is, of course, very positive. We have a good stability in the team with good defending, so it gives confidence in the offensive sense.
“We are also creating chances to score the goals and on Friday it was important that we scored three times. I hope that we have a lot more confidence and trust in the games that we now have.
“Tuesday comes along very fast now.”
On the confidence boost of a three-goal performance on Friday evening, the 54-year-old said: “Atdhe has not has so many games in the past six months, so the goals and games give him trust and Marco also played a very good game, although he did have the luck in the second half with his shooting.
“But he was always a dangerous player against Reading.
“The team showed a little bit more trust in themselves in the second half.”