Portuguese international Lucas Joao is hoping he can provide the goals to keep Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship.
The 24-year-old lost his way under fellow countryman Carlos Carvalhal and was loaned out to Blackburn Rovers last season. But the striker has grasped his chance under new manager Jos Luhukay.
Joao has netted five goals in his last nine outings – previously he had only scored two all season – and is set to lead the attack in tomorrow’s crunch game with Bolton Wanderers at Hillsborough.
Both clubs are lingering just above the Championship relegation zone and desperate for three points.
“Nobody wants to be in a relegation scrap,” said Joao. “We have to show the fans that we don’t want to be in this position because it is not the position Sheffield Wednesday needs to be.
“We just need to work hard and improve ourselves and prove to everybody we don’t deserve to be there.”
READ MORE - All the latest Sheffield Wednesday news
Joao has been given his chance with fellow strikers Gary Hooper, Steven Fletcher and Fernando Forestieri all injured.
He scored a fabulous solo goal on Tuesday night, but it was not enough to prevent a 2-1 loss to Ipswich Town.
“It’s just an unlucky season,” he said. “So many players injured, important players.
We need to focus on Bolton, it is three points at home against a team that aren’t far away from us and we need to get away from them.Sheffield Wednesday’s Lucas Joao
“We need to focus on Bolton, it is three points at home against a team that aren’t far away from us and we need to get away from them. The fans are waiting for a big answer from our team. We are working to try and find a solution for all our problems.
“Hillsborough is our house, we don’t have problems playing here. This season we are just not at our best, but we feel comfortable at home. It’s just unlucky.”
Joao netted eight times in his first season at Hillsborough – including scoring against Arsenal in the League Cup – and looked set for a promising time.
But he struggled last season with just one goal for the Owls and ended up at Ewood Park on loan. Now he wants to prevent the Owls following Blackurn in being relegated to League One.
“It’s nice to be scoring goals, but not when we are in this position,” he said. “I’m happy to be helping the team.
“Scoring goals is my job, it’s my position. I just hope I can keep helping the team.”