Sheffield Wednesday: New boy may face hot-shot duo

Oguchi Onyewu at the Owls training ground
Oguchi Onyewu at the Owls training ground

New boy Oguchi Onyewu could be plunged into a Wednesday baptism of fire against the Championship’s hot-shot duo at Burnley tomorrow.

The USA international centre-half is in contention for a debut against the title-chasers whose front two, Danny Ings and Sam Vokes, have scored 33 goals between them this season.

Caretaker boss Stuart Gray faces the dilemma of whether to pick the vastly experienced former Premier League defender or stick by the centre-back partnership that played against Leeds and both games against Macclesfield.

It boils down to a choice between Onyewu or Miguel Llera, who came in alongside regular Glenn Loovens to fill the gap left by the departure of Roger Johnson, and scored the final goal in Tuesday’s FA Cup replay.

Gray also believes that Onyewu’s signing creates competition for places.

“He must be up to speed because he was on for bench for QPR against Everton away in the FA Cup,” said Gray.

“Unfortunately he missed out at QPR: because of the number of good quality centre halves they had. He needs to get out and play. We’ve got a player who is very hungry as he wants to get a World Cup place.

“He has trained very well, every day. He came in last week and trained, He just needs games. If he does get a game on Saturday, he’s got the experience of Chris Kirkland, Glenn Loovens and Reda Johnson, who can talk to him.

“Anybody who’s played in two World Cups has got the ability and experience as well.”

Onyewu, who has been signed on a contract for the rest of the season after leaving QPR, said he is pleased to have joined the Owls and wants to help them climb the table.

He added: “It’s important to get the games in, and with this being World Cup year, even more so for me. Right now I feel great and I’m looking forward to the future.”

Gray spelled out the threat of Ings and Vokes: “Burnley have two quality lads up front. My back four and keeper have to be fully at it. If we can keep those two quiet, I have every faith we’re going to win the game.

“Ings has got 21 goals - I wouldn’t be disappointed if somebody came in with a bid and they accepted it before Saturday’s game!”

Wednesday are in the market for two loan strikers and are awaiting answers from players but Gray does not expect developments before tomorrow’s game.

He said: “We’ve missed out on a couple but we have others.”