Sheffield Video: Why Sheffield Wedneday's hopes next season could hinge on Fernando Forestieri staying fit Sorry, we're having problems with our video player at the moment, but are working to fix it as soon as we can Waiting for Video... Published: 14:28 Monday 18 June 2018 Share this article Sign Up To Our Daily Newsletter Sign up Have your say 'Game-changer' Fernando Forestieri has been tipped to put his Sheffield Wednesday injury troubles behind him and reignite the Owls' promotion spark next season.
The forward came good towards the end of last term after a long spell out following knee surgery, scoring five goals in eight Championship appearances. Fernando Forestieri
Former player Jon Newsome believes the 28-year-old will be the main man in the 2018/19 campaign as the club look to launch an assault on the top six for the third time in four years.
"When you get players like Forestieri back fit, it's like having a new signing," said Newsome who watches his old side home and away. "It's so important to have him fit.
"When he came back at the end of last season, he was like the Forestieri of old. He had that spark and that connection with the supporters again. It was great.
"He scored one or two great goals and there were some fantastic performances. Is that coincidence or the impact of the new manager (Jos Luhukay) or just the circumstances that he's happy to be back playing again and is giving it his all? Who's to know? But whatever it was, it was working." Forestieri on the scoresheet
Forestieri was an immediate hit when he arrived at Hillsborough from Watford in 2015 and scored 15 goals in 39 outings in his first season.
The Argentine angered supporters when he refused to travel with the squad to Norwich City the following year but still found the net 12 times in 38 games, before last season was a virtual write-off until the end of March because of his knee problem.
His end-of-season form was a big factor in the Owls ending a disappointing campaign on a high note, leading Newsome to predict a similar impact when league action kicks off again in August.
"He should be a key player," the ex-centre-half said. "He's a game-changer. His workrate off the ball is as good as what he does on the ball.
"When players like him are on their game and working hard, chasing people down, it becomes infectious. Other players will work off that.
"He's the one who created the spark for that to happen when he came back from his injury. I think that's what we lacked last season. He above anyone else, I think, can get the team going."
Newsome reckons two more players who had injury issues last term, midfielders Barry Bannan and Sam Hutchinson, could also make the Owls immeasurably stronger.
"I think Bannan on his day is a huge player for Wednesday," he said. "If he gets the ball in the right position and the team is playing the right way, he can unlock doors for you.
"Hutchinson, when he's fit, can go and put in a couple of big tackles and win the ball back. He can be very forceful in the way he plays and that lifts the crowd as well."
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