Sheffield Wednesday: Milan’s hopeful as players weigh up new Owls deals

Lewis Buxton
Lewis Buxton

Sheffield Wednesday chairman Milan Mandaric is confident the majority of the Owls out of contract players will “shortly” sign new contracts.

It was over a month ago Wednesday offered new deals to six players, having secured their Championship status. Only Lewis Buxton has so far agreed to extend his stay at Hillsborough, with the right-back penning a new two-year contract at the start of June.

The Owls are still waiting to hear back from Stephen Bywater, Miguel Llera, David Prutton, Giles Coke and Jermaine Johnson. It is thought Bywater, Chris Kirkland’s understudy in between the sticks, will snub their contract offer and opt to join Millwall, having become fed-up at his lack of first-team opportunities.

Mandaric told The Star: “We would really like those players to stay with us and I know they really like the club.

“The players are about to come back from their holidays. I can’t see any big reasons why we shouldn’t be able to conclude their contracts.

“It is just a matter of the manager sitting down with the players and talking to them over the next few days.

“There are always other clubs but I know, as chairman, these players love the club.

“They are very happy here. We want them to stay and we hope that’s going to be the case.”

Following a summer break, Wednesday manager Dave Jones and his backroom staff return to work today looking to step up their preparations ahead of the 2013/14 season. The players are due to check in at the club’s Middlewood training ground later this week.

Jones is looking to beef up his squad to avoid another battle for survival.

Wednesday are short of firepower up front, with loan players Leroy Lita and Steve Howard having returned to Swansea City and Hartlepool United respectively at the end of last season, while Chris O’Grady also recently left the club.

It has been a quiet summer for Wednesday, who have yet to make a signing, but Mandaric and Jones expect the transfer market to hot up over the next couple of weeks.

Mandaric says they will look to strengthen the squad once they have tied down the out-of-contract players.

“If they don’t sign for some reason or another, we will need additional new players,” he acknowledged.

“Our key priority is to sign them and I expect that to happen shortly.

“If they don’t sign, we will have to look at their replacements.”