Owls bid to keep Bywater

Owls Stock Pics....Stephen Bywater
Owls Stock Pics....Stephen Bywater

Gary Megson is to explore signing Stephen Bywater permanently after the success of the goalkeeper’s stay with Sheffield Wednesday.

The Owls boss has already made a strong recommendation to his club to push through a loan extension and possibly a full transfer.

Bywater - out of this weekend’s FA Cup action under the terms of his lease from Derby - is the first of Wednesday’s loan players to have his future debated. The arrangement ends after the eagerly awaited Hillsborough clash with promotion rivals Huddersfield on December 17th.

With the 30-year-old former West Ham keeper between the sticks, the Owls have lost just one of ten league games, winning seven and conceding only eight goals.

Megson told the Telegraph: “I’ve spoken to people at our club about Stephen and the minimum we want is to keep him for the rest of the season.

“I wouldn’t be averse to signing him and I think he would be keen to join us on a full-time basis. Stephen has been terrific for us and great to have around the place.”

Richard O’Donnell will again step up against Aldershot at Hillsborough on Saturday, just as he did at Morecambe in the first round. Now, as then, Ben Marshall is ruled out by Stoke - while Arsenal have put the block on Sanchez Watt and Miguel Llera is already cup tied.

But James Tavernier has been cleared to play by Newcastle. Wednesday’s other loanee, Danny Batth, is suspended forcing another back-four shuffle which will presumably involve the versatile and influential Reda Johnson.

Megson understands the attitude of other clubs, particularly those in the Premiership, saying: “When I was at that level I did the same because you never know who you’ll need and when.”

So, will Jermaine Johnson get another opportunity to shine after various warnings from his manager?

“Maybe,” said Megson. “But it’s not like an audition where people get chance after chance.”

That sounds like Johnson won’t get many more. Certainly, there is an expectation on those who fill the shirts this weekend.

“We’ve all seen Huddersfield on that record-breaking run of theirs and we must try to foster that kind of mindset,” said Megson, having seen League One leaders Charlton beat the Terriers to keep his side in second place.

“It would be a good thing to stay in the cup for as long as possible because it keeps you winning games. We’re on television as well, albeit not in this country. The fact that we’re being screened for the world market shows again the stature of Sheffield Wednesday. Finance is also a factor in the cup but if we do things right on the field we’ll be okay anyway.”

Meanwhile, David Prutton is hoping to celebrate the birth of a son on Monday this week by pushing closer to a return to the starting line-up. The former Nottingham Forest midfielder was a key signing in the summer but has struggled to regain his place since being injured two months ago.

“Chris Lines has done really well in David’s position,” said Megson. “I don’t think it’s a case of Prutts accepting it - but the idea is that when players come in they make it as difficult as possible to leave them out, as Chris has done.”