Sheffield Wednesday: Owls focus on Madine fitness

Gary Madine after his last appearance for the Owls, at Rotherham
Gary Madine after his last appearance for the Owls, at Rotherham

Hard work is just beginning for Gary Madine as he bids to resurrect his career.

He rejoins training today and the Owls will be assessing how far away he is from being fit enough to be considered for Championship football.

The striker said on his release from Armley prison last week that he could not wait to get back to training and was feeling stronger than ever.

But whatever fitness and strength work he was able to do during his four months behind bars, he will now be like a player striving to come back from a long-term injury.

He has played only 51 minutes of senior football this season and his only appearances have been from the bench, at QPR and Rotherham in the first two games, as a replacement for Atdhe Nuhiu.

The fact that there are only nine weeks to go before the end of the season presents him with a challenge: to try to get back in the team before the final game on May 3. If Dave Jones was still manager then his chances of a comeback perhaps would be remote.

Jones clearly did not consider him to be Championship material though he scored 18 goals in the League One promotion season. Last season he was given only 10 league starts and they brought him three goals.

He was not in the team at the start of this season and after those two games as a sub was left out of matches while he concentrated on his court case.

He was sentenced in October to 18 months for two assaults and released last week. Madine will hope to emulate Jose Semedo, Kieran Lee and Chris Maguire, who had long spells on the sidelines but found a new lease of life under Stuart Gray. Madine also has another year left on his contract.

Chairman Milan Mandaric said that the club condemn the striker’s trangressions and will not tolerate any repeat but accept his remorse and will support him.

Madine, who could have been sacked, said he is grateful for the opportunity and he has promised not to let the club down again.