WEDNESDAY are adopting a softly-softly approach over Chris O’Grady.
Manager Gary Megson has made it clear that the striker is not ready yet to be plunged into the side after his recovery from a foot injury.
He played for the last 18 minutes as a sub against Exeter last Saturday.
That was followed by him coming through a full outing in a private game at Middlewood on Tuesday, which leaves Megson reflecting: “He needed that game.
“It’s not just what’s happened since he’s been here; I know he did pre-season with Rochdale, but from May onwards he hasn’t had a real run at it.”
O’Grady picked up his foot injury during pre-season work with Rochdale in Spain.
After it worsened during his Owls debut at Bury in August it was feared he could be out for up to eight weeks.
He was fit again in five weeks but Megson says: “It’s going to need a bit more management than just chucking him in there.”
O’Grady looks set to be on the bench again at Hartlepool today, for it would be throwing him in at the deep end if he was to start.
David McGoldrick looks set to keep his place. Ryan Lowe may be ruled out after fresh soreness in the ankle that caused his lay-off.
Loan signing McGoldrick knows he has to be on his toes. “Chris O’Grady scored goals for Rochdale; Ryan Lowe set the world alight at Bury,” he said.
“There needs to be competition, and it might make people play better.”
Reda Johnson, a success after his switch to left-back, faces a farewell outing before missing the Chesterfield game because of his call-up by Benin, when it should give Julian Bennett a fresh chance to stake his claim.
With Liam Palmer, who has been a sub for the last two games, also missing out next week because of Scotland Under 21 duty, Megson calls it “crazy” that he must lose two players and there is no option to postpone games.