Sheffield Wednesday: Jones confident over Owls ace

Owls top scorer Michail Antonio
Owls top scorer Michail Antonio

Dave Jones, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, is confident star winger Michail Antonio will be fully fit in time for the start of pre-season.

The skilful forward missed the final two months of the 2012/13 Championship season after he sustained a groin injury in their 2-0 home defeat to Cardiff City.

His pace and trickery on the flanks were sorely missed as Wednesday secured their league status in the final round of fixtures.

Owls chief Jones has told The Star: “Michail is progressing well.

“He should be fine and ready to go for pre-season.”

Prior to his knock, Antonio, a £750,000 buy from Reading last summer, had started every league game. He ended up as Wednesday’s top scorer with nine goals.

Wednesday, who will travel to Chesterfield for a pre-season friendly on Saturday July 27, kick-off 3pm, have offered new contracts to goalkeeper Stephen Bywater, defenders Lewis Buxton and Miguel Llera, midfielders David Prutton, Giles Coke and winger Jermaine Johnson. Academy graduate Adam Hinchliffe has also been offered a new deal.

As this newspaper revealed on Wednesday, the Owls have released left-back Julian Bennett. Veteran shot-stopper Nicky Weaver and youngsters Matthew Fletcher and Harry Grant have also been shown the door.

Despite having a year left on his contract, versatile attacker Nejc Pecnik has left the club by mutual consent.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility Wednesday look to recruit Seyi Olofinjana on a permanent basis. The Nigerian international, who impressed during a loan spell at Hillsborough last term, is a free agent having been let go by Hull City following their promotion to the Premier League.