Sheffield Wednesday: Gray puts Afobe in contention

Benik Afobe celebrates his goal at Reading

Benik Afobe celebrates his goal at Reading

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Benik Afobe remains part of Stuart Gray’s plans though he has played little part in recent games and Leon Best’s loan has been extended to the rest of the season.

Afobe may also be recalled for today’s match against Birmingham, with Jacques Maghoma ruled out and possibly facing an absence of weeks owing to his knee injury.

Signed from Arsenal on loan in January for the remainder of the season, Afobe started brightly in the Championship matches against Barnsley and Reading, and scored at the Madejski Stadium, He was also in the team for the FA Cup tie against Charlton.

But he has been on the bench for four recent Championship games and was not in the 18 for the clash with his old club, Huddersfield, because the maximum allocation of five loan players was taken up by others.

Gray, however, told The Star: “He has been a bit unlucky.

“He was involved in the Charlton game, when I don’t think anyone in the first half hour came out with any credit.

“But he’s a good lad, good to have around the place, a quality player. His opportunity might arise now Maghoma is out of the side - I think he’s going to be weeks rather than days.”

Kieran Lee has trained all week, and is in Gray’s thoughts for today’s game.

With David Prutton also back in contention, Gary Gardner has been sent back to Villa after his month on loan.

Sam Hutchinson’s loan extension to April 9 and availability after his one-match ban puts him too in the running to face the Blues.

While awaiting clearance for an extended loan for Adededji Oshilaja, Gray also had to rule the Cardiff defender or midfielder out of today’s game because of a toe injury. It is not serious, however.

Chris Kirkland is set to regain the keeper spot from Damian Martinez after missing two matches with a calf injury, and Joe Mattock is due back in full training tomorrow when the squad begin preparing for Tuesday’s visit of QPR.