Sheffield Wednesday: Madine will have point to prove

Gary Madine playing for the Owls Under 21s on his comeback against Birmingham

Gary Madine playing for the Owls Under 21s on his comeback against Birmingham

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Gary Madine is only just beginning a long journey as he resurrects his career by playing on loan for Carlisle.

The immediate part of the road ahead will see him regaining match fitness and trying to help his former club win their fight against relegation from League One.

In the distance awaits the task of convincing the Owls that he is worth a place in their first team.

The 23-year-old remains unproven at Championship level.

If he had been a Wednesday first-team regular then his spell behind bars for four months would have had greater repercussions for the club.

But since he scored 18 goals in the League One promotion campaign he has been mostly on the bench when he has been available. It has been only 14 league and cup starts last season, none this, before the jail sentence for assault rocked his career.

Dave Jones clearly did not think that he was Championship material; Madine would argue that he got too few opportunities to change that view.

The striker will see that players such as Kieran Lee, Jose Semedo, Chris Maguire and Jacques Maghoma have been given greater prominence by Stuart Gray and he will hope to follow in their footsteps.

Wednesday will be having him watched while he is with Carlisle - and there are certain to be League One outfits, maybe promotion hopefuls, eyeing developments in case they see a possible chance to prise him away from Hillsborough in the summer.

Although Gray has shown astute man-management by encouraging Madine, if the player falls short or if a tempting enough offer is received then a transfer cannot be ruled out a year before he could walk away on a free.

Madine is glad to be back: “It was tough sitting [in prison] to watch the Football League show, watching everyone scoring goals while I was doing nothing.

“I don’t ever want to go back to that. I had got in a comfort zone and didn’t realise how good a life I had. What happened was my own doing and I let my ego get the better of me. Now I am keeping my feet on the floor and taking every day as it comes.”