Owls: No pressure to sell as Megson rebuilds

Departed: Paul Heffernan was released by the Owls last week.
Departed: Paul Heffernan was released by the Owls last week.

SHEFFIELD Wednesday chairman Milan Mandaric has rejected claims manager Gary Megson is under pressure to offload players before he can embark on a major recruitment drive at Hillsborough.

Megson continued his summer clear-out by releasing midfielder Darren Potter on Thursday, just over a week after shipping out striker Paul Heffernan.

But Mandaric, who has bankrolled the signings of Rob Jones and David Prutton from Scunthorpe United and Swindon Town respectively, insists Megson has room to manoeuvre in the transfer market.

“We are not telling Gary he has to get players out to get players in,” the Serbian-born businessman told The Star. “There is no such thing.

“Gary doesn’t want to have a big squad. He wants to work with around 22 players. He is still talking of bringing in eight to nine players and we are working on them as we speak.”

Mandaric has indicated Megson is checking out a couple of players who ply their trade in the Championship.

One of Megson’s top targets is striker Jason Scotland. The Trinidad and Tobago international has been told he can leave Ipswich Town, having fallen down in the pecking order at Portman Road. His days appear numbered at Ipswich following the signings of Nathan Ellington and Michael Chopra.

The 32-year-old striker, who has one year left to run of his contract at Ipswich, notched 10 goals in 35 starts and 10 substitute appearances last term. The Star understands the Tractor Boys want to recoup a significant portion of the £750,000 transfer fee they paid to buy Scotland from Wigan Athletic 12 months ago.

Brighton and Hove Albion are also reportedly interested in his services but boss Gus Poyet has moved quickly to play down the link.

“We are looking in all divisions for players but the way we play makes it more difficult,” he said. “We can’t just sign a player by position. There might be 15 or 20 players out there for one position and of those maybe two or three who we think will adapt to the way we play.”

Megson recognises he has to beef up his attacking options. He currently has just two senior strikers on his books in Gary Madine and Clinton Morrison. However, Megson’s transfer dealings seem destined not to spark into life until next month.

Mandaric added: “I think we won’t see much movement until pre-season. Quite a lot of managers are away on holiday and people are assessing things.”

The Owls chief is determined to reshape his squad, and is understood to be monitoring Jason Koumas’s situation. The 31-year-old midfielder is a free agent after being shown the door by Wigan.

Koumas, who started his career at Tranmere Rovers, spent last season on loan back at Cardiff City where he failed to make a big impact.

Another player on Megson’s radar is Julian Bennett, who is out of contract at Nottingham Forest. Megson is short on options in the left-back position and has previously worked with Bennett at the City Ground.