Sheffield Wednesday: Owls starlet urged to learn

Hot prospect: Caolan Lavery is aiming to make his mark at Southend United.'     Picture: Steve ellis
Hot prospect: Caolan Lavery is aiming to make his mark at Southend United.' Picture: Steve ellis

DAVE Jones, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, is confident Caolan Lavery’s loan move to Southend United will greatly benefit the young striker.

It was nearly a fortnight ago the Northern Ireland Under-21 international joined the Shrimpers on a youth loan until the end of the season.

Lavery made the first senior appearance of his fledgling career last weekend. He came on as a second half substitute in Southend’s 1-0 victory over Oxford United.

The 20-year-old, one of the top performers in the Owls’ development squad since moving to Hillsborough last summer, is highly regarded by Wednesday’s backroom staff and Jones believes the youngster’s stint at Southend will further enhance his footballing education.

“We are hoping Caolan is going to learn from it,” Jones told The Star. “He has got the safety net of coming back to us. We feel we have got a very good player in Caolan but it is a little bit different playing in front of 50 people in the Under-21s than in front of 5,000 to 6,000 people at Southend.”

Lavery is one of two strikers from the Owls academy who Jones has allowed to leave the club on a temporary basis to gain first-team experience. Matthew Fletcher is spending one-month on loan at Cambridge City.

“It is all part and parcel of their education,” added Jones. “Young Matthew [Fletcher] played the other day at Cambridge so there are lots of people we have put out and about. We only place people at football clubs where we think they are going to benefit.”

Southend United boss Paul Sturrock said he had been monitoring Lavery’s situation “for a while”.

“He’s a bright player and we hope we can help him improve as a player,” said the ex-Wednesday boss. “We’re delighted to have got the young lad in and we’re confident he can make a big impact.”

* Brought up in Canada, Lavery moved to England in 2009. Lavery, whose parents are Irish, signed for Ipswich Town but quit the Tractor Boys midway through last season.