Owls step up defender search after Johnson exit

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Sheffield Wednesday are expected to step up their search for defensive reinforcements before this weekend’s Yorkshire derby at home to Leeds United.

The Owls were rocked in the build up to the Leeds game with news that Roger Johnson, a key part of their improving defence, was joining Premier League side West Ham United on loan from his parent club, Wolves.

Wednesday’s caretaker manager, Stuart Gray, was busy exploring other options at the time of writing, and hopes to bring someone in before the visit of Brian McDermott’s play-off chasing Leeds.

“It’s a massive blow to lose Roger, of course,” Owls goalkeeper Chris Kirkland said, “but it’s a great move for him and he deserves it after all he’s done for us during his time here.”

Gray was due to meet Milan Mandaric on Tuesday to discuss his future, but the meeting was shelved when the Owls chairman was called out of the country on business.

But Kirkland added: “All the lads want him to get the job.”