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Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Wednesday: Key man Barry Bannan walking disciplinary tightrope

Barry Bannan: Four bookings already.
Barry Bannan: Four bookings already.
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JOS LUHUKAY insists that he will not be telling Sheffield Wednesday talisman Barry Bannan to rein in his competitive streak this evening – despite the looming threat of suspension.

The Scot’s majestic recent form is resonating not just with Wednesdayites, but further afield in Championship circles, with Stoke City manager Gary Rowett labelling him as a ‘little magician’ after orchestrating the Owls’ rally in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with the Potters at Hillsborough.

The feats of Bannan, due to visit old club Aston Villa on Saturday, have also been recognised by Sky Bet, whose Power Rankings list show that he is the in-form player in the Championship.

Yet it is also not lost upon many at Wednesday that the 28-year-old is one caution away from a one-match ban after picking up four bookings already in 2018-19; the latest coming on Saturday.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s game at the City Ground – where Bannan was dismissed in a 3-0 win in March, 2016 – head coach Luhukay said: “I spoke with him for a very short time.

“We hope that the fifth is not coming, but in every game, it is possible, of course.

We must not go for the negative side and hope that Barry plays a very good game for us with gets no fifth yellow card and that he can also play the next game.

Jos Luhukay

“We must not go for the negative side and hope that Barry plays a very good game for us with gets no fifth yellow card and that he can also play the next game.

“But with every game now, you have that risk that Barry is a player who gets a fifth. But we try and think positive.

“Barry is a very experienced player and will not think in the game: ‘I must not come in, one against one, to maybe get the fifth yellow card’.

“You never know what happens in a game and what situations come. But I do not think Barry will think about that.”

The Owls, unbeaten in their past four league outings, are chasing their fifth successive victory at the City Ground this evening.

Luhukay has confirmed that Gary Hooper may continue his comeback with a full 90 minutes in the Owls’ development squad game with Sheffield United on Friday.

The striker featured for just over an hour in Monday’s Under-23 game against Leeds United.

Last six games: Nottingham Forest DDDWLD; Sheffield Wednesday LWWLWD.

Referee: T Harrington (Cleveland).

Last time: Nottingham Forest 0 Sheffield Wednesday 3; December 26, 2017; Championship