Atdhe Nuhiu’S hat-trick brought the curtains down on Sheffield Wednesday’s season in a five-goal demolition of Norwich City.
Captain Glenn Loovens, 34, was handed a rare start on his final appearance for the Owls, and took a standing ovation when he was substituted five minutes before half-time.
By that time the hosts were in control at 2-0, after Nuhiu headed in Adam Reach’s cross, before Fernando Forestieri pounced to score after a stray back pass.
After Nelson Oliviera spurned a header to cut the deficit, just after half-time, the Owls scored twice in as many minutes.
First, on-loan defender Frederico Venancio – on his final appearance for the Owls – volleyed home, before a defensive mix-up presented Kosavan international Nuhiu with an open goal.
And the striker completed his triple in stoppage time, when he netted from the penalty spot after Forestieri was tripped.
With Loovens out of contract in the summer and Venancio following him through the exit door, the Owls are hoping to convince Nuhiu to sign a new deal. The 28-year-old’s deal expires next month.
Often a bit-part player under Carlos Carvalhal, Nuhiu has excelled since Jos Luhukay’s arrival in January. He has netted 13 of his 14 goals under Luhukay’s direction, and the Owls’ style certainly suits the towering forward.
Nuhiu revealed contract talks are ongoing, and urged the Owls to “fight for me”.
He said: “I think everybody knows what Sheffield Wednesday means to me. We are in negotiations. It’s something which I cannot promise, but it’s going in the right direction.
Everybody knows what Sheffield Wednesday means to me. We are in negotiations. It’s something which I cannot promise, but it’s going in the right direction.Sheffield Wednesday’s Atdhe Nuhiu
“In England, Sheffield Wednesday are the club who opened the door for me. I will not turn my back on them easily. I hope we can find a solution, but the club needs to fight for me.”
With strikers Gary Hooper and Steven Fletcher set to return from injury in pre-season, Luhukay is also keen to secure Nuhiu for next season.
Luhukay said: “I hope that we find a positive solution with Atdhe so that he signs a new contract with us. He would like to stay with us and I hope that he stays with us.”
Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson, Venancio, Loovens (Thorniley 44), Pudil, Baker (Palmer 84), Pelupessy, Bannan, Reach (Matias 78), Joao, Nuhiu, Forestieri. Unused substitutes: Rhodes, Lees, Wildsmith, Nielsen.
Norwich City: Gunn, Reed, Zimmermann (Raggett 81), Klose, Lewis, Leitner, Trybull, Hernandez, Maddison (Ivo Pinto 11), Murphy, Oliveira (Srbeny 76). Unused substitutes: Husband, Watkins, Stiepermann, McGovern.
Referee: R Jones (Merseyside).