Sheffield Wednesday: Wembley finalist praises Owls

Lee Grant shakes hands with Sam Hutchinson after Derby's 1-0 win at Hillsborough in February
Lee Grant shakes hands with Sam Hutchinson after Derby's 1-0 win at Hillsborough in February
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Lee Grant is grateful to the Owls as he prepares to play at Wembley for the first time.

They resurrected his career and helped to put him on the road towards the Premier League.

The keeper plays for Derby in tomorrow’s showdown with QPR but he was a mere spectator when the Rams last played in the Championship play-off final, in 2007.

He had been unable to secure first-team football and had already agreed on a move to Hillsborough.

Grant became a main man in his three years at Hillsborough followed by three years at Burnley and has been ever-present in his first season back at Derby as they sealed third place in the table and came through the play-off semis.

Looking back at that 2007 Wembley visit, which ended in 1-0 win against West Brom, the 31-year-old admits: “It felt like I needed to leave Derby County to progress my career.

“In all honesty, I was already preparing for life away from Derby County.

“I was really excited to have the opportunity to go and play at Sheffield Wednesday, which I did do for three years, and that was probably the making of me.

“So the irony of coming back to Derby this season and the club reaching the play-off final is fantastic.

“It would be lovely to spend this summer thinking about and preparing for a Premier League campaign. That is the aim.” A Bosman free signing, Grant played 145 games for Wednesday

When he was sold in 2010 for a fee estimated to be around £1m it slightly eased the club’s financial problems after they had been served with a winding-up petition by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

He sat out the 2007 final because Stephen Bywater - later to follow him to the Owls - was in the team and Lee Camp was the sub keeper.

Meanwhile, Wednesday youngster Cameron Dawson has welcomed his call-up to the England Under 19s squad.

Dawson said on Twitter: “Delighted to have been called up for the Euro elite rounds! Looking forward to it!” England play Montenegro in a qualifier at Walsall tomorrow.