Sheffield Wednesday can gatecrash the play-off promotion party, says George Boyd

On target: George Boyd scores against Nottingham Forest.
On target: George Boyd scores against Nottingham Forest.
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GEORGE BOYD’S response when asked about the impact made by Steve Bruce since his arrival at Sheffield Wednesday is a profound and unmistakable one.

On the pitch, the Owls’ run of one defeat in 13 matches under the watch of the north-easterner may speak volumes about the ‘Bruce factor’ after a Hillsborough reawakening which has been uplifting and unexpected in equal measure.

But listen to the winger and Bruce – who he previously worked with at county rivals Hull City – has achieved something just as important, if not moreso.

The vastly-experienced manager has helped fissures heal and made Wednesday feel like a ‘proper club’ again in the words of Boyd, who is making up for lost time after being frozen out under Bruce’s predecessor, Jos Luhukay.

In the process, Boyd admits to falling back in the love with the game a touch as well.

Boyd’s sense of rediscovered well-being was manifested in Tuesday night’s 3-0 home win over Nottingham Forest, by virtue of a fabulous angled strike.

It was his first competitive goal in almost a year, although the 33-year-old is quick to point out that the figure is a wholly misleading one, given that he was starved of match-time for a fair chunk of the past 12 months through no fault of his own.

Overlooked by Luhukay in the first half of the season which saw him feature for just 11 minutes in the Championship before the Dutchman departed in mid-December, Boyd has been a regular since Christmas.

His own re-emergence after a tough time in his career when he was often stuck at home instead of contributing on the pitch has happily coincided with the club’s transformation under Bruce – in a chalk-and-cheese season for both Boyd and Wednesday.

Boyd said: “He has pulled everyone together and made it a proper club again.

There is a good team unity and the spirit is back. I think it is showing in the performances and the results that we are fighting for each other.

Sheffield Wednesday’s George Boyd

“Training is brilliant and Aggers (Steve Agnew) and Clem (Stephen Clemence) have come in with Bully (Lee Bullen) and we have really turned things around.

“There is a good team unity and the spirit is back. I think it is showing in the performances and the results that we are fighting for each other.”

On his own personal upturn, he added: “Everyone wants to play football and when it is taken away from you, it is hard. Since I have come back, the results have improved, although they should have been there in the first place.

“I missed playing every Saturday when you are stuck at home. You get to fall back in love with the game really and you definitely do not take anything for granted.”

For Boyd and Wednesday, the icing has arrived by virtue of the club still retaining an outside chance of sneaking into the Championship’s top-six with five games of the season to go.

The fixture list may not be benign with an away double-header at Leeds United and Norwich City looming large, but Boyd and his team-mates are planning to have a bit of fun along the way and don the guise of ‘party poopers’ – starting at Elland Road on Saturday.

Boyd, promoted to the top flight with Bruce at Hull in 2012-13, added: “The next two games are fantastic. Both are on Sky against teams going for promotion and we will go there to spoil the party.

“I think we have proved we can beat anyone on our day. We will go there full of confidence.

“We have just to keep winning and hope others slip up.

“There is always one team who finishes strongly and nicks in there and gets that momentum to go and win in the play-offs and, hopefully, that can be us.”