Owls Target Sunderland and Leicester Defenders & Rebuff Barnsley
Sheffield Wednesday have announced a friendly against Rangers and knocked back a bid from Barnsley for unsettled O’Grady with Flitcroft now turning his attention to Donaldson at Brentford FC, someone the Owls could do with. Jones is also being linked with Sunderland AFC free agent Kilgallon and St Ledger, who has no future at Leicester City. With 6 out of contract Dave Jones has funds and scope for movement to ensure the Owls start looking up rather than down in 2013/14.
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There is an optimism surrounding Hillsborough after a season of consolidation following promotion reward for saviour Milan and the grateful Owls. STMI will be following them this season, after being made to feel so welcome by both Owls online (Owlstalk) and in the flesh. They and the cavernous Kop bearing that huge Thanks Milan banner are starting to bounce with 1,000 new season ticket holders already on board. The momentum is growing and, with the weight of expectation akin to that of Atlas, Dave Jones, a master at finding gems, has his work cut out. He has the pedigree to ensure that the Owls are there or thereabouts by addressing some key areas.
Wednesday do need more fire-power up front. The news that Jermaine Johnson will sign an extension will be greeted positively but Gary Madine, Chris McGuire and Chris O’Grady failed to help shoulder the burden largely left to Leroy Lita, as Dave Jones double-six gave way to 4-3-3 /4-5-1. It kept the Owls up, although McGuire got a vital winner at Millwall after the JJ/Lita show in the 3-2 thriller against Blackburn. Barnsley have had a bid rejected for O’Grady, after his successful loan spell but, manager Flitcroft, will allegedly not follow it up on his self professed ‘”no 1 target” and turn instead to Brentford’s Clayton Donaldson or ex-Blade John Stead.
The Owls do have two fantastic wide-boys to supply whoever comes in with some golden bullets. They will welcome the return of Michail Antonio, injured in the spring, next term, he was sorely missed after a great start, leaving JJ with a huge ask. He duly delivered with aplomb, but he is not getting any younger (32), suggesting the need for cover as McGuire and Lee are relatively poor replacements out wide. Mind you Buxton’s runs from full-back are a treat to behold.
The Owls midfield was overwhelmed at times last season, with central midfield quantity being a poor substitute for quality. Semedo is a fans favourite, Lines, Prutton and Coke are tryers, but early season loans at League 1 clubs, suggest the Owls need to invest in at least one midfield general if they are to look up rather than down. Coke (27) has been offered a new deal by Jones this month, but is yet to sign. Rhys McCabe and Paul Cory are still young but would certainly benefit from a seasoned campaigner to help them realise their potential. Cheltenham’s Marlon Pack (22) is on the radar. At first hand he may not be seen as a landmark signing, but he has the quality and engine to take the step up in his stride. The compensation fee would also leave plenty to spare for elsewhere.
Right-back and player of the season Lewis Buxton has just agreed a new two year deal, fantastic on the overlap, his delivery ensures a dangerous and consistent end product for the Owls. Jones is being linked with ex-Sunderland free agent Kilgallon and St Ledger who has no future at Leicester City with favourite Miguel Llera rumoured to be leaving Hillsborough (if agents talk is to be believed). The Owls defence was somewhat overworked at times last season and conceded 61 goals. Llera and Gardner put in some brave performances last year,given the step up and hearts in mouths aside. With Garner’s injury record, Taylor, now 33 and, Llera out of contract, a Fox and Black cat capture could be the stitch in time that saves 9. Left-back Reda Johnson is a fans favourite but Leeds Danny Pugh looked useful during a loan to cover for RJ’s injury. Joe Mattock can play at right or left back but struggled when called on to deputise.
Kirkland was ever-present in his first season and is happy to stay despite rumoured Premiership interest. He will be first choice again, with understudy Stephen Bywater (limited to 4 cup games) offered a new deal whilst the ageing Weaver has been released. As further back-up, if needed, the Owls have Cameron Dawson who is an England U19 keeper. With a full-complement of keepers it leaves plenty in the kitty for a striker to get the Kop out of there seats. Donaldon could be the answer but Mansfield’s Green has surprisingly missed out during a trial at Birmingham. Now he is a gamble who could pay off better than Adam Le Fondre did for Reading.
Posted on June 1, 2013, in The Championship Angle, Writers - Neil Gentleman-Hobbs and tagged Barnsley FC, Brentford FC, Leicester City FC, Rangers FC, Sheffield Wednesday FC, Sunderland FC. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.