SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Owls fan Jamie Vardy targets his old club

Owls follower: Jamie Vardy
Owls follower: Jamie Vardy

OWLS fan and former Wednesday youngster Jamie Vardy looks set for a Leicester call-up at Hillsborough tomorrow.

Vardy, favourite to replace injured top scorer David Nugent, cannot wait to play against the club that he has always supported.

The 25-year-old striker was on the Owls books as a youngster but was released because of concerns over his size.

However, after spells at Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax and Fleetwood, he was snapped by Leicester for £1 million in the summer.

After being out for several weeks with a calf injury, he made his comeback as a first-half substitute in the 6-0 thrashing of Ipswich on Saturday, and is expected to start tomorrow with nine-goal Nugent ruled out by a neck injury.

Vardy says: “I’ve followed Wednesday since I was a kid and played for them as a youth. All of my mates are Wednesday fans too, but either way I’m looking forward to it. If the gaffer gives me the chance to play, I will do my utmost to score.”

Vardy was released by Wednesday as a teenager - and admits it was a tough decision to take. “I actually stopped playing for a while. Wednesday released me because they said I was too small, so I just stopped completely for a year,” he said. “Luckily, I went to college and one of my mates was playing for a local junior side on a Sunday morning. He managed to talk me into signing for them and later I signed for Stocksbridge.

“When I was at Stocksbrige, I was playing in the first team against the big men - and that is when you learn a lot. They don’t mess about at that level, they kick you all over.

“You have to deal with that and get on with it and it has made me stronger, as a player and a person.”

His impressive form at Stocksbridge - 66 goals in just over 100 appearances - earned him a move to Halifax in the summer of 2010.

He scored 29 times in 41 appearances to fire the Shaymen to the Northern Premier League title.

That led to a move to Fleetwood, where he netted 31 goals in 36 appearances as the Lancashire side won the Conference and promotion to the Football League - and secured Vardy his big move.

“It’s not easy working your way up the pyramid,” he says.

“Following a spell with Halifax, Fleetwood gave me the chance to perform in the Conference and I took it in my stride.

“Until I signed for Fleetwood, I was working full-time and playing football only on a part-time basis. It was a lot of hard work.

“I was a carbon fibre technician, not the best job. In fact, I quit a month before I signed for Fleetwood and thankfully that worked out.”

And he has adapted well to life in the Championship at a new club, scoring four goals already.

“I’ve settled in well and everything is all set now. I’ve moved down and the house is stored,” he says.

“The lads have been fantastic in helping me settle and, as far as everything else goes, I’m really enjoying it.

“The pace of the game is a lot quicker. As a result, you need to be a lot quicker to be able to cope with the pace.

“As well as that, you are obviously playing against a lot better players, but in doing that I’m hoping that it is also making me a better player.”