Sheffield Wednesday: Old boy tipping loan duo to shoot Owls to safety

Connor Wickham
Connor Wickham

Former Sheffield Wednesday captain Darren Purse claims the club must re-assess their objectives after a poor start to the 2013/14 Championship season.

Derby County condemned Dave Jones men to their fifth defeat in 14 league outings on Saturday, a result which leaves the Owls in 22nd position, two points shy of safety.

Purse, looking to prolong his career following a spell in Finland, watched Wednesday produce arguably their worst display this term at Pride Park.

Nonetheless, the 36-year-old defender is convinced the Hillsborough outfit can get out of trouble.

“I don’t think they are million miles away,” Purse told The Star. “They have not lost many; they have just got start to turning their draws into wins.

“At the start of the season, I’m sure they would have been looking at the top half of the table. They may now have to re-evaluate things a little bit.

“There is not a great deal of money available to Dave [Jones] so some leeway has to be given for that.

“This may be another building season. In the second half of last year, they became very hard to beat, which is what you need when you are struggling.

“I have seen a few Championship games and I don’t think Wednesday, with the team that

they have got, are going to be relegated.”

Purse, who has previously worked with Jones at Cardiff City, felt the Owls were overrun in midfield at Derby, with Jones opting to start strikers Matty Fryatt and Connor Wickham.

He said: “It was not a good performance last weekend but I think Derby deserve a lot of credit. I thought they were very good. Their three in midfield controlled it and they had pace up front.

“I think one of the disappointing things for Wednesday is that they didn’t build on that convincing home victory against Reading, who will be fighting it out for promotion. They built the fans’ hopes up so Saturday would have been a hard for them to take.

“It would have been brilliant to have gone into the international break having got something at Derby but they have now got two weeks to stew on a bad result and performance.

“It is a long hard season so the break gives the players time to rest, recover and get ready for the matches coming up.”

Despite Wednesday’s sluggish start, Purse reckons

the loan front two of Fryatt and Wickham can play a pivotal part in rectifying their league form.

“Matty and Connor are two proven goalscorers; they will be vital,” he said. “They will score goals to help the team get the wins they need at the moment.

“I trust Dave [Jones]; he knows what he is doing. I know there is talk of Hull recalling Matty and I am sure Dave will have someone up his sleeve who he can go and get should that happen. That is part and parcel of being a manager. You have to be ready for every eventuality.”

Released by Port Vale at the end of last season, Purse was snapped up by IFK Mariehamn in the summer. His contract with the Finnish side ran out at the end of October.

Purse said: “I played in Finland for three months which was a good experience. I really enjoyed my football and I did a lot of coaching too. I can’t sign for a club until the transfer window re-opens so we will see what happens.”