SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Owls early targets point way forward

Experience: Chris Kirland once moved for �6m.   Picture: bruce rollinson
Experience: Chris Kirland once moved for �6m. Picture: bruce rollinson

THE move for Anthony Gardner and the capture of goalkeeper Chris Kirkland is an early indicator to the line of thinking as manager Dave Jones assembles his squad to prepare Sheffield Wednesday for their return to The Championship.

Firstly it means that he is looking at the spine of the team and has decided to strenghten there first and also that he is looking at players who have experience of The Championship or higher.

In the case of Kirkland and Gardner - although that deal has still to be finalised - they both have Premier League experience.

Jones clearly feels that acquiring players who know what it is like in The Championship but have also experienced the pressure cooker atmosphere of the Premier League, will be valuable additions to the squad he aims to put together. The signing of right back Kieran Lee from Oldham Athletic doesn’t, of course, come into that category but he represents a different type of signing - that of a young player who has development ahead of him albeit he is one who could well challenge immediately for a place.

Kirkland was one of the country’s brightest young goalkeeping prospects at the time he joined Liverpool for £6m in 2001 but it is at Wigan that he acquired prolonged top flight experience.

Gardner, initially spotted as a tall, rangy youngster at Port Vale, was snapped up by Spurs where he played at the top level and got England recognition albeit briefly. Latterly he played in the Premier League for Hull.

In the past two seasons he has been in the Championship with Palace and, assuming he joins, would bring to the side recent knowledge of the game’s second tier.

In stepping up a level, Jones clearly recognises from his considerable experience of managing in The Championship level that recruitment is required to step up a level too if they are to make an impact.