Sheffield Wednesday's big money buy yet to Reach his potential

Adam Reach is starting to show why Sheffield Wednesday made him their club record £5m summer signing.

Unorthodox No 9: Left-winger Adam Reach has played everywhere from left-back to centre forward since joining the Owls. (Picture: Steve Ellis)

The 23-year-old winger moved to Hillsborough from Middlesbrough and the huge fee brought increased expectations for the former Bradford City and Preston North End loanee.

He has failed to net for the Owls, and is yet to hit peak form, but has been hindered by playing in several positions, including striker.

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On Saturday against his former club Preston, he continued his role as a stand-in left-back and impressed in the opening 45 minutes.

Several times he darted forward, leaving midfielder Barry Bannan to cover his defensive duties, and created chances for Lucas Joao and Fernando Forestieri.

The latter eventually scored when he headed in Reach’s wayward shot, but the former Boro man is happy just to be playing. “I don’t mind where I play as long as I’m on the pitch,” Reach told The Yorkshire Post.

“Even at left-back, I will try and be as positive as I can, albeit the defensive duties are my priority. I will give my best wherever I play.

“The manager wants me to defend first and foremost, but nowadays full-backs are so attacking and can be massive threats. I think Jack (Hunt) and I have done well in the last few games.”

Reach’s display was overshadowed by three red cards against Preston – Forestieri as well as North End duo Eoin Coyle and Jermaine Beckford – while the win pushed the Owls into the play-off spots.

After being denied by a late equaliser at in-form Fulham, Carlos Carvalhal’s side have beaten Wolverhampton at Molineux and Preston at home.

Next up is a trip to Reading, who were thrashed by Fulham 5-0 last weekend.

Reach said: “We’re on a good run. We have picked up seven points from three games and there’s a lot of winnable games in December.

“We are concentrating on Reading and trying to get a good result there. Once you start to get a few wins, everything starts to roll very nicely and hopefully that will take us into the new year inside the play-offs, or higher.

“It is going to be a massive month. As a team, we take each game as it comes but it is always nice to start the second half of the season in a strong position, which I think we will.

“We just need to concentrate on Saturday and not think about the other four games this month. If we do that, I’m sure we will be alright.

“Reading are up there but have just got beaten 5-0 by Fulham. But that’s the Championship for you and I’m sure they will be in this week trying to work on some things tactically for our game.

“It will be difficult, but if we concentrate on ourselves and play anywhere near as well as we did in the first half and take our chances, then I’m sure we will get the three points.”

Reach is yet to open his Owls goals account, although he has had his chances since moving from the Riverside.

Against Preston, it was his miscued effort that created the opening goal for Forestieri.

“I shanked it over to Fernando,” said Reach. “That was a bit of rustiness from me. I haven’t scored yet this season, but fortunately it fell to the right man and he slotted it in.

“The manager’s message was to make sure we were positive with the first pass forward and we all did that.

“In the second half, circumstances changed and we were on the back foot a little, but we got the three points and everyone was delighted.”

The deployment of Sam Hutchinson to midfield from centre-half – a role he excelled at last season – has co-incided with Wednesday’s upturn in results.

Reach was full of praise for both Scotland international Bannan and former Chelsea youngster Huitchinson. There was one incident on Saturday, highlighted on social media, which typified Hutchinson’s midfield dominance, diving in for three well-timed tackles in a matter of seconds to win the ball back.

“We have got a good relationship (with Bannan). He knows my strengths and I know mine and we work well together,” explained Reach. “With Sam in midfield, he gives us that little bit of protection which allows Jack and I to go forward more. We have got a good balance in the team.

“Sam knows the role well. He offers a lot of protection. He doesn’t try anything too fancy with the ball. He’s a good player and knows his responsibilities there and I think we look a stronger outfit with Sam in the side.

“Tackling is part of his game. It gets all the fans and players fired up. He holds back on them in training, but once he is over the white line he wants to win and tackles like that need to be made.”