Sheffield Wednesday: Damian presses for Cup recall

Damian Martinez celebrates the 1-0 win at Watford with Stephen McPhail
Damian Martinez celebrates the 1-0 win at Watford with Stephen McPhail

Wednesday are keeping up the pressure on Chris Kirkland by retaining Damian Martinez for the rest of the season.

The on=loan Arsenal keeper could even get an outing in today’s FA Cup tie at Macclesfield.

Stuart Gray could see the match against a non-League side as an opportunity to rest Kirkland and keep Martinez active, especially as the caretaker boss felt the Argentinian had done nothing wrong to lose his place three games ago.

Gray felt that Kirkland’s vast experience would be beneficial for a busy and testing Championship programme to follow a poor team performance against Bournemouth.

The fact that the Owls kept a clean sheet against Blackpool on New Year’s Day and are unbeaten since the return of Kirkland will also come under consideration, however.

If Kirkland was rested today after playing against Blackburn, Charlton and Blackpool, it seems likely that he would return for next Saturday’s clash with Leeds.

Gray is glad that he can continue to pick from two able keepers after the extension of Martinez’s loan.

“Chris is a top professional,” he says. “Dave Jones left him out and brought Emmi in; it was probably right; Chris wasn’t happy to go out.

“But I just felt that coming into the Christmas period, it would be better to include somebody who’s been there, seen it, done it. Emmi lacks that bit of experience.”

Gray credits the outfield players as well for this week’s clean sheet and thinks Roger Johnson and Glenn Loovens have been outstanding, Miguel Llera looks likely to replace unavailable Johnson.