Watch out. Teemu is about and ready to lead from the front again

Teemu Pukki is set for a leading role at Sheffield Wednesday 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Teemu Pukki is set for a leading role at Sheffield Wednesday Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

Daniel Farke is delighted to be back up to full Teemu Pukki power.

The prolific Finnish international had scored nine in 16 appearances for club and country, before an untimely hamstring injury on Uefa Nations League duty.

Pukki made his club return in the midweek Carabao Cup exit at Bournemouth and Farke is adamant he can start Saturday back on Championship business at Sheffield Wednesday.

Jordan Rhodes is ineligible to face his parent club, but Farke is confident it is not too soon to start his goalscoring rival.

“He looked sharp and lively and he looks a good option,” he said. “I think it was important for him to have this 20 minutes or so at the end. Not so much from the physical side but that he is confident enough, because after a muscle injury you wait for the pain or to feel uncomfortable.

“It was important to get these minutes on the pitch at Bournemouth.”

Pukki’s fitness is in stark contrast to a lengthy injury bulletin delivered by Farke on Friday.

Todd Cantwell is definitely ruled out and the head coach will make a late decision on Marco Stiepermann (tonsillitis). Mario Vrancic is in the frame to step up, and Farke believes the Bosnian could operate in the same advanced role as Stiepermann.

“He is always a threat when he is close to the goal. He is capable of goals and assists,” said Farke. “To be honest I like him in the deeper role because he is able to switch the play and dominate the rhythm but we have Alex (Tettey, Tom (Trybull) and Moritz (Leitner) in that area.

“Mario can fit to several roles and be effective in the offensive role, albeit a bit different in the style of play.

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“He is pretty close (to a start). For him and his head it was important to have this (Bournemouth) game with an outstanding performance.

“He played in a bit more of an offensive role but had many good ideas, good with set pieces, and really it was the brilliant form of Marco or (Emi) Buendia, (Todd) Cantwell and Onel (Hernandez) why he didn’t play more.

“It is quite normal when you don’t play for four or five months you are not immediately back in your rhythm.”

Farke warns City will be tested at Hillsborough, despite the Owls’ recent downturn.

“For me, they are a club who can be fighting for the play-offs,” he said. “I am pretty sure they will.

“We travel with respect, because we know it is a tough place to go. If we had this match three games ago then Sheffield were in the play-off ranks. A bit like Brentford, I am not happy they are there with three losses in a row.

“They are an experienced side, an experienced coach and a big club. They have conceded too many goals of late and (Jos) Luhukay made it clear after the last game they are now focused a bit more on defending their own goal.

“They will be awake and sharp and desperately motivated to get a result.””

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