Sheffield Wednesday v Fulham: Kadeem Harris starting to deliver the goods for Owls

Kadeem Harris scored against Fulham in the Premier League last season but was left ‘buzzing’ after helping Sheffield Wednesday claim a deserved point at Hillsborough.

Mobbed: Fans join in with Owls players in congratulating scorer Atdhe Nuhiu.
Mobbed: Fans join in with Owls players in congratulating scorer Atdhe Nuhiu.

The 26-year-old, who netted for Cardiff City in a 4-2 top-flight win over the Cottagers 11 months ago, joined the Owls on a free transfer this summer.

The winger has added much-needed pace to Wednesday’s attacking threat, and it was Harris’s cross which created the equaliser for substitute Atdhe Nuhiu in the ‘94th minute’ on Saturday.

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After providing the assist for Steven Fletcher’s goal in the previous week’s 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town – Garry Monk’s first game in charge – Harris is thriving under the new manager.

Having netted twice in seven games for Wednesday, Harris believes he is starting to produce the best form of his career at S6.

“I am buzzing with my assist,” said Harris. “I always set a target in pre-season to get as many assists and goals as possible.

“That’s the second one in successive games, so, hopefully, I can keep that up, and keep contributing to the team going forward.

“I went on loan at Brentford and did well there, but this is my first parent club that I have done as well as I have. Hopefully, I can keep it up.

“I am playing regular games, contributing to the team, but I think I have a lot more in me. The fans, manager and team-mates will see that.

“I just need to keep working hard,” added Harris, who played in 13 Premier League games for Cardiff last season, and had a loan spell at Barnsley in 2015.

“The new manager has been brilliant for us. He has been very direct in what he wants us to do. Everyone knows their roles and jobs. He has only been here two weeks, and in those two weeks he has stamped his authority on the team.

“On a defensive point, we now know our roles and jobs a lot more than we did. He’s working on different styles of play, and the boys are liking it so far.

“He just wants me to be positive. He knows what I am good at.

“He wants me to stamp my authority on every game, to run at defenders, get crosses in, and shots.

“That’s my job as a winger.

“He definitely encourages that. Some managers want you to play in the pockets, he wants me to get the ball and run at defenders. Be positive in what I do.

“He has definitely helped me and, hopefully, I can repay him this season.”

Despite conceding the majority of possession to Fulham – still adapting to life in the Championship after relegation from the Premier League – it was the Owls who enjoyed the best of the first-half chances.

It was only the form of visiting goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli who kept Wednesday scoreless.

Scotland striker Steven Fletcher headed Adam Reach’s cross over the crossbar, before Bettinelli pulled off a fine double save.

He dived low to deny Reach’s header, from Harris’s left-wing delivery, before thwarting Fletcher’s follow-up strike.

Midfielder Kieran Lee – who replaced Jacob Murphy in the only change from the side which beat Huddersfield – then shot tamely at Bettinelli after escaping his marker.

But Fulham, despite failing to create any clear-cut chances, were pushing the Owls deeper into their own half, and eventually the territorial pressure told.

Joe Bryan’s left-wing cross was not cleared, forcing Owls goalkeeper Keiren Westwood to claw the ball away from goal. Unfortunately for him, the ball reached the feet of Tom Cairney, who fired home from eight yards.

Monk’s half-time pep talk saw the Owls midfield push higher up the pitch.

Barry Bannan’s cross picked out substitute Murphy but he headed wide, and striker Sam Winnall, who replaced midfielder Lee as Wednesday switched from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2, saw his header tipped away by Bettinelli, although the offside flag would have ruled out the ‘goal’.

But with the match deep into five minutes of stoppage time, Harris’s cross took a looping deflection and Kosovan international Nuhiu dived to head in a deserved equaliser in front of the Kop.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling, we stayed in the game, and I think we did well,” said Harris. “We stuck to the game-plan, and in the end I think we got what we deserved.There weren’t many chances in the game, I think we could have made more of the chances that we did have. Thankfully, we got the goal in the end.”

The point keeps Wednesday just four points behind leaders Leeds United after eight games.

Harris believes the Owls can aim higher under Monk’s leadership.

“No targets, we just want to win every game,” he said. “There’s no team we need to show massive respect to in this league, I think we can beat anyone. Fulham are one of the favourites and we showed today that we can compete with them. Everyone knows that and today just gives everyone that little bit of extra confidence.”