Steve Watson backs former Sheffield Wednesday team-mate Lee Bullen for permanent head coach role at Hillsborough

Sheffield Wednesday caretaker boss Lee Bullen sits alongside assistant Neil Thompson during the reecnt game at Millwall. Picture: Steve Ellis
Sheffield Wednesday caretaker boss Lee Bullen sits alongside assistant Neil Thompson during the reecnt game at Millwall. Picture: Steve Ellis
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FORMER Hillsborough team-mate Steve Watson believes caretaker manager Lee Bullen merits a crack at the Sheffield Wednesday job on a permanent basis.

Bullen is enjoying his third stint in temporary charge of the Owls having previously held the fort following the departures of Carlos Carvalhal and Jos Luhukay.

NATURAL LEADER: Lee Bullen battles with Sheffield United's Rob Hulse during a Steel City derby.

NATURAL LEADER: Lee Bullen battles with Sheffield United's Rob Hulse during a Steel City derby.

Unlike those December dismissals, though, Steve Bruce’s summer switch to Newcastle thrust Bullen in charge at the start of a new season and he has responded by overseeing a solid start to the campaighn which sees the Owls fourth in the Championship tables with three wins from four games.

York City manager Watson, who played alongside the 48-year-old Scot for Wednesday during a 15 month-period between 2007 and 2008, reckons there might just have been a “top manager” in the waiting at S6 prior to the last two appointments and now could be the time to find out if that was the case.

Watson regards Bullen as a natural leader of footballers and is convinced the ex-Dunfermline and Falkirk is ready for the challenge on a permanent basis.

“I feel he deserves a chance,” said Watson. “You see so many clubs that look elsewhere, as they’ve done before at Hillsborough, but Bully couldn’t have got the team off to a better start and, if he is given the opportunity, they might just find they had a top manager on the staff all along.

He deserves a chance. You see so many clubs that look elsewhere, as they’ve done before at Hillsborough, but Bully couldn’t have got the team off to a better start and, if he is given the opportunity, they might just find they had a top manager on the staff all along.

Steve Watson on former Owls team-mate Lee Bullen.

“This is his third time as a caretaker and he keeps stepping back but – if he wants the job and keeps getting results – then at some point the situation becomes a bit like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United last season.

“The Hillsborough crowd love him. He’s a fans’ favourite and that would give him a bit more leeway than others might have been afforded in the past.”

On the possible managerial attributes he spotted in Bullen when both players were approaching their twilight years as players with the Owls, Watson added: “He’s a very good people person and footballers want to play for him and follow him.

“Some of the game’s best captains haven’t gone on to become great managers, but he was a good leader when I played with him and he has taken that into coaching too.

SUPPORT: 'York City manager Steve Watson. believes former Owls team-mate Lee Bullen deserves a crack at the Hillsborough job on a permanent basis. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

SUPPORT: 'York City manager Steve Watson. believes former Owls team-mate Lee Bullen deserves a crack at the Hillsborough job on a permanent basis. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

“He’s a really good football man and a Sheffield Wednesday man, which is a big plus.”

“I also think playing in four or five different positions, like I did at Sheffield and Bully did, has helped with my coaching, because I think it can be tough for somebody who has always been an attacker to put on defensive sessions.

“If you’ve played in all of the positions, it gives you a better idea of what every player needs from you and what you need from them in their different roles.”