‘Preston wanted me more than Owls did,’ says Mellor

Owls bond: Neil Mellor hopes to see Wednesday promoted this season
Owls bond: Neil Mellor hopes to see Wednesday promoted this season

NEIL Mellor wants to set the record straight over why he did not become a Sheffield Wednesday player last summer.

The Preston striker was a Gary Megson target after scoring 20 goals during his season on loan.

But he ended up staying at Deepdale to see out his contract with them.

“There were a lot of rumours about why I didn’t come back to Hillsborough,” Mellor told The Star.

“Was I being greedy? No. Basically I felt as though I was more wanted at Preston than at Sheffield Wednesday; maybe that wasn’t down to Gary Megson. I did enjoy working with him towards the end of my season there.

“It wasn’t a question of personal terms. What eventually was offered was one year, plus a second year, but I would have had to play 30-odd games in the first year to qualify for that. It would have been a gamble. Preston were telling me they really wanted me to stay, and I had another year on my contract with them anyway.”

The 29-year-old striker says that Wednesday will always be special to him because of his Hillsborough background and family link

His dad, Ian, played for the club and his brother, Simon, is a big fan.

Neil hopes for a succesful end to the Owls’ promotion campaign but on Saturday his loyalty is to the Lilywhites.

“Preston and Wednesday are the two sides I wanted to go up. I’ve still got a lot friends working at Hillsborough.

“Whether I get a good reception or not - it would be great if I do get a good one - they are club I want to do well, but not on Saturday of course.Preston have always been good to me. I’ve had some good times here, though we’re having a bad time at the moment..

“I’m a Preston fan and player on Saturday. But after that I want to see Sheffield Wednesday get promoted, and I want both clubs to do well.”

Mellor says he was “shocked” by Megson’s sacking: “He did a great job in turning the team into promotion candidates.”

The striker’s own season started well. H had scored eight goals before the end of September (his total is nine) and pipped Gary Madine to the League One Player of the Month award for September.

But he suffered an ankle injury at Walsall in mid-October and was out for five weeks. Then in December he picked up a knee problem at MK Dons and needed a cartilage operation.

He made his comeback as an 85th-minute sub against Bury last Saturday, missed a chance and saw the Shakers grab a late equaliser.

Then he sat out Tuesday’s 3-1 home defeat against Brentford because of some swelling in his knee and is not expected to start on Saturday but may be on the bench.

He said: “There’s a chance I’ll be involved. I hope to get on at some point. I’m just easing my way back into it.”

With his Preston contract ending this year, he is keeping an open mind about his future.