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Wednesday Must Learn From Troubled Season


Laws looking up

By Stuart Truman
May 6 2008

WEDNESDAY must learn the lessons of this season and use it as a springboard for a successful 2008-09, believes Deon Burton. The striker tinges optimism with a little caution, for the Owls were in a similarly upbeat mood a year ago when they finished ninth, then a myriad of problems, including injuries, the exit of top players and financial constraints undermined their fortunes The striker tinges optimism with a little caution, for the Owls were in a similarly upbeat mood a year ago when they finished ninth, then a myriad of problems, including injuries, the exit of top players and financial constraints undermined their fortunes.

Burton told the star "Last year I thought we were at a turning point, and look what's happened: we've survived on the last day," said the two-goal star of the 4-1 win against Norwich.

"Things will have to improve in areas. Hopefully we can build for next season.

"Things haven't happened for us, for whatever reason.

"We have to take a good look at what's happened this season.

"We've survived. We have to get on with trying our best for the club."

For Burton, the campaign has ended on a personal high.

His double in the match that clinched Championship safety was accompanied by his best performance of the season.

He also ended as the club's top scorer, with nine League and Cup goals – one more than the tally of his close pal Marcus Tudgay.

Burton was also top scorer last season, jointly with Steve MacLean, on 13 goals.

The former Derby and Rotherham star lost his regular spot in the side for much of the 2007-08 campaign but re-emerged in the last seven weeks after Tudgay joined Akpo Sodje and Francis Jeffers on the injured list.

Brian Laws was happy to place responsibility on Burton's shoulders, going into the season's finale.

He said: "I said to him 'you have to lead the line, you have to be the focal point of our team. That means you have to lead it well and be reliable. Credit him. He got two goals."

Burton had gone nine games without scoring and had a penalty saved at Leicester in the penultimate match of the season; that miss was minimised by the team's fightback in a 3-1 win.

He revealed in The Star last week that he had no intention of relinquishing the penalty-taking job and his confidence remained high He was true to his word as he coolly kept his nerve to slot home a vital equaliser from the spot against Norwich, and he put away the third goal with a glancing header.

Burton, aged 31,will be challenging for a place again next season and is under contract for another year.

But Lee Bullen, 37, has reached the end of the road as he gets set to be released after four years at Hillsborough.

Brian Laws said: "Lee has led by example and been a great servant to the club.

"He has been an outstanding skipper, on and off the field, a great bloke to work with.

"We have to move on; we have to be honest with him; he's got to the age where he needs to be playing regularly. We couldn't guarantee him that."

Bullen would have settled for being kept on as a squad player.

"But I'm fully aware of the financial constraints at the club," said the club captain, who is talking this week to two English outfits and one in Scotland."

Bullen and Norwich's Dion Dublin, who is retiring at 39, both received warm receptions from the Hillsborough crowd on Sunday.

Canaries manager Glenn Roeder says: "I am not surprised the Sheffield Wednesday supporters stood up and applauded him because Dion Dublin's name in football all round the country is first class.

"He has had a football career to die for – 20 years in the game. A lot of it has been played at the top level, he has played for his country, and I think what people realise as well is that, apart from being a top footballer, he is a top human being with lots of humility."

Roeder has congratulated Wednesday on staying up: "I know the pressure Brian Laws will have been feeling in the build-up to the match as I have been there myself. Full credit to them and we look forward to playing them next season."

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Wednesday Must Learn From Troubled Season
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06/05/2008 09:59
Wednesday Must Learn From Troubled Season

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