Sheffield Wednesday have made a steady start to life in League One this season, and captain Darren Purse has played a pivotal role in helping the Owls adjust.
Last season’s relegation was a bitter pill to swallow for the Wednesday fans, and now the expectation is that the club will mount a serious challenge to bounce back to the Championship at the first attempt.
This expectation brings with it added pressure to succeed and as the leader of the team on the field Purse has to help ensure that the side can handle this.
Despite not playing fluent football for large spells of their three games so far, Wednesday have picked up four points from two games in the league and have progressed to the second round of the Carling Cup. The former Cardiff City defender has been a rock in all of these matches, a key contributor to the fact that the Owls have only conceded one goal so far. Each performance has been a potential 'man of the match' display.
The 33-year-old centre-back was brought to Hillsborough by Brian Laws last summer, and after a solid start to his Owls career he lost his form and his place in the side during the first half of the 2009-10 campaign.
The arrival of Alan Irvine as manager signalled something of a fresh start for the squad and Purse took advantage of this. His return to form marked an upturn in the team’s defensive displays, and although he was unable to help the club avoid relegation it was clear that he was an asset to side.
With the introduction of nine new players to the squad over the summer, five of whom started the opening game against Dagenham, it was always going to be difficult for the Owls to gel from the start and hit the ground running.
Purse’s solid defensive displays and on-field leadership have enabled Irvine’s side to get three positive results, and as their familiarity with playing together increases they will be looking to maintain their results with an increased level of accomplished team performances.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.