SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Owls ready to give Kirkland first outing

Sheffield Wednesday v Chesterfield....GOAL...Lewis Buxton celebrates his goal

Sheffield Wednesday v Chesterfield....GOAL...Lewis Buxton celebrates his goal

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CHRIS Kirkland could make his Wednesday debut today at Doncaster Rovers - but Lewis Buxton is likely to be still waiting for his comeback.

Manager Dave Jones has confirmed that Kirkland may play for part of the Keepmoat Stadium friendly (kick-off 3pm).

The former England keeper is back in training after being given permission to miss the club’s week in Portugal so he could resolve a private matter.

Buxton did go on the trip though it was known that it would be too early for him to play in either of the Algarve friendlies as he recovers from a shoulder operation.

The Kirkland issue - which has not been disclosed publicly - was cleared up, and he has thanked the club and fans for their patience and understanding.

Wednesday had to borrow a Portuguese keeper for the first of their Albufeira games, against Sporting Lisbon, because Nicky Weaver and Stephen Bywater had minor niggles.

But Bywater was able to play in the 2-0 win against Reading, and with Weaver and Kirkland in the squad, the Owls are spoilt for goalkeeping choice today.

Jones hope to have Buxton available for next Saturday’s Hillsborough friendly against West Brom (3pm).

The Owls boss confirmed: “I’d like to have Lewis at Doncaster but I think we’ll have to leave him until the West Brom game.

“There seems no point in risking him at the moment when the physios think he would benefit from another week.

“He’s been training but has yet to do any real physical contact in a game, and he’ll probably get that next week.

“Chris Kirkland is in the squad, so he might get some sort of run-out.

“I might also bring in one or two others and rest one or two. We’ll see.”

The Owls are now entering the final stages of their pre-season preparations.

Jones added: “The Doncaster game is part of our training programme. We had two really tough games in Portugal and this will be another one. The lads are training hard and doing well and taking on board what we want of them.”

Wednesday will have a week’s break from matchplay before the showpiece friendly against West Brom. Then on Wednesday, August 8, comes the final friendly, at Kilmarnock, which is also a testimonial for Killies’ James Fowler.

The competitive action begins in the Capital One Cup at Oldham on Monday, August 13.

Players will also be attending tomorrow’s community day in Hillsborough Park, which runs from 11am to 5.30pm. Players will be there in three shifts between 12.30 and 4.30.