Chey Dunkley’s inclusion in the starting XI on Saturday was a major milestone for the defender on his return from a long spell on the sidelines.
A double leg break back in February while playing for former club Wigan has seen the influential stopper out of action now for 10 months.
But his influence at the club goes way beyond being in the matchday squad, with his experience and character behind the scenes proving as valuable off the pitch.
While it was obviously a huge step to play on Saturday, Dunkley says he couldn’t overthink that side of it too much, with full focus only on the game, and he explained:
“I’ve been 10 months out and this is my first competitive game, I’ve just got to get with it, there is no time to have excuses or things like that, once my name is on the team sheet – right it’s focus.
“I’ve been here before, we’ve got to roll our sleeves up and all I can do is try and influence other people around me, keep working hard and this is a building block for myself moving forward.
“It was important for me to get as many minutes as I can, I was willing to play on but the gaffer has probably looked and thought it’s my first game but for me when I’m on the pitch I will give it my all.
“That’s what I’m about, I can’t just walk around on the pitch, it’s in my DNA – I have to work hard and that’s what I tried to do.”
And now back in contention to play, Dunkley’s focus is on helping the Owls turn around their form.
“It has been tough but we have to fight,” he said.
“The good thing about the Championship is we have another game on Tuesday and every game is a cup final now.
“I’ve been with the lads from the start of the season and we definitely have people here who want to fight, the effort has been there.
“I have been trying to galvanise when I haven’t been a part of the team, and now I’m on the field. It’s easy to be the best player when you’re in the stand – you can play the perfect game.
“But out there was tough, I was out there and it was tough but the lads are working hard.”