Coke planning to inject survival spirit into Wednesday’s cause

Giles Coke is prepared to play through the pain barrier to try to spare Sheffield Wednesday from relegation and earn himself a new Hillsborough contract.

Coke has ignored advice to rest his injured foot, opting for two injections so he can help out in the Owls’ final seven games of the season.

Despite taking four points from the Easter double-header against Barnsley and Bristol City, Wednesday slipped to fourth-from-bottom and level on 47 points with four other teams.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Twenty-six-year-old Coke’s contract expires this summer and he admits he thought his Owls days may have been numbered when he was shipped out on loan to Swindon Town before his foot injury ruled him out for three months.

But since being given a surprise recall by Owls manager Dave Jones for the 3-1 win at Hull City on January 12, Coke has tasted defeat just twice in 11 games.

Now, despite the arrival of experienced former Premier League central midfield players Stuart Holden and Seyi Olofinjana on loan, Coke is desperate to play his part in the battle to remain in the Championship.

“I have this little niggle, it’s sore,” said the former Motherwell midfield player, who spent most of last season on loan with Bury in League One.

“I have had a couple of injections so, hopefully, it will get me through to the end of the season. They said I should be resting.

“This season has been crazy, to be honest. I was on loan, then injured for three or four months, and then I came back and was given a chance to play for Wednesday straight away.

“I am just very grateful to be playing. Obviously, when you are not playing you do think that your time is going to be up.

“If you get to the end of your contract and you are not playing, like anyone you think that you will be moving on.

“But obviously football can change quickly, there are so many twists and turns, and I am just happy to be playing.

“These last seven games are going to be massive for us. The club, the players who are out of contract, and even the players who have contracts. I am sure all the players want to stay in the Championship, they don’t want to be relegated.

“It’s going to be massive, I just hope I can impress enough to earn myself a contract. All I can do is give it my all.”

Competition for a central midfield spot is fierce with the arrival of Bolton’s Holden and Hull City’s Olofinjana, adding to the experience of David Prutton, Danny Pugh and Jose Semedo.

“David Prutton is very experienced, he’s played in the Premier League, so you have to take your hat off to him,” said Coke.

“I enjoy playing with him, but we have loads of good midfielders at the club. I just want to play.

“It’s good,” insisted Coke, when asked about the new midfield arrivals. “When you see those players coming in it makes you have to up your game slightly, sometimes you can become a bit too complacent.

“It’s a good problem to have, there is quality throughout the team. I am not sure what the gaffer will do, he picks the team, and we all respect his decision.

“Some of us might not be happy we are not playing, but this is a team sport, not individual, and we all stick together to hopefully get the results we need to push up the league.

“We have a very strong squad, bringing players in like Stuart Holden and Olofinjana, they have Premier League experience. You can’t complain too much.

“Personally, I hope to play as many games as possible this season, but if not and I come on when needed, I will give 100 per cent.”

Since losing at home to Bristol City four months ago on December 8, 2012, the Owls have been beaten just four times in the Championship, yet still they are embroiled in the fierce relegation scrap.

Coke believes, though, that victory today over Blackburn Rovers – one of the teams tied on 47 points along with Barnsley and Huddersfield Town – would help propel resilient Wednesday away from trouble.

“When we were going through our bad run, we were a bit too easy to beat,” he admitted. “I think we have definitely toughened up, stuck together, and everyone wants to play for each other.

“It’s showing now on a Saturday. We just have to keep that going until the end of the season and I am sure that will be enough to stay up.

“We were satisfied with the four-point haul over Easter, but gutted at conceding a late goal against Bristol City. It felt like a loss.

“It’s been an unbelievable season, it just keeps changing all the time. There’s so many teams that are going to be in this relegation battle.

“We are quite confident. We have Blackburn next and if we can win another three games, gain nine or 10 more points, we will be safe.

“I think our home form has been quite good recently – apart from losing to Cardiff who are a quality side – but we have done really well at Hillsborough. With three home games to go, there’s no reason why we can’t pick up maximum points.

“Blackburn are a massive club. Obviously there’s issues and problems. You can say they are under-achieving, they have quality players in their side and they shouldn’t really be where they are.

“But the league table doesn’t lie, so they are there for a reason. It’s a massive game for them as well. In this league, anyone can beat anyone on their day.”