It’s one of the first things asked of every incoming manager over the past three-and-a-half years: can they be the one to bring the Jordan Rhodes of old to Sheffield Wednesday?

Tony Pulis will be the fourth to have a go, after Garry Monk (for whom Rhodes scored just four goals in 24 games), Jos Luhukay (one in 10) and Carlos Carvalhal (eight in 41).

Lee Bullen (one in seven) also tried his luck over a couple of caretaker spells, though Steve Bruce – whose assistant Steve Agnew is the 30-year-old’s uncle – did not as Rhodes was on loan to Norwich at the time.

But Pulis’s spell will be the most critical yet for Rhodes, who is in the final year of the contract he signed in February 2017 after Wednesday made him their £8 million – and still-unsurpassed – record signing.

As per the comments he made to the media on Thursday, it is clear the former Scotland international is as desperate as ever to succeed – and ultimately, stay – at a club he admits to being ‘fond’ of.

Having a manager who believes in his ability – something that was never really evident with Monk or Luhukay – could be the key to that.

And, according to The Metro, Pulis was among the Rhodes admirers after taking charge at Crystal Palace in November 2013.

It was claimed that Pulis hoped a £6m offer would be enough to tempt Blackburn into selling the Owls number 20, whom he had identified ‘to score the goals which can provide Premier League salvation’.

But the then Eagles boss appeared to concede defeat shortly afterwards, stating: “We’ll get linked with every Tom, Dick and Harry from now until the end of the window.

“But the answer is no, we couldn’t afford Jordan Rhodes.”

FBL-ENG-PR-CRYSTAL PALACE-PULIS
Crystal Palace’s Welsh football manager Tony Pulis attends a press conference where he was unveiled as the club’s new manager in south London on November 25, 2013. Pulis was confirmed as Palace’s choice to succeed Ian Holloway on November 23. AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP via Getty Images)

Whether there was any truth to the rumour remains unclear, and even if there was, seven years is more than enough time for opinions to change.

The bonafide positive for Rhodes is that Pulis has found himself with few alternatives in his position.

The Welshman revealed on Monday that Rhodes and Josh Windass were the only strikers who trained that day – implying implying that Jack Marriott wasn’t fit and that he doesn’t see Kachunga (who was sighted at Middlewood Road) as a centre-forward.

And while Callum Paterson was due to return from international duty on Thursday, Pulis has already expressed doubts over his suitability in the role he was signed to play by Monk.

Opportunity is something that Rhodes has seldom had at Wednesday, for whom he has started more than three consecutive league games on just three separate occasions since a 12-game spell in the side at the very start of his Hillsborough career.

And if another run is to arrive, now more than ever Rhodes has to take it.

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