BARNSLEY stalwart Bobby Hassell believes Sheffield Wednesday have made a “big mistake” by loaning Chris O’Grady to them this season.
Owls hitman O’Grady joined the Reds on loan on transfer deadline day for the remainder of the season having found himself surplus to requirements at Hillsborough.
And the 27-year-old has wasted no time in hitting it off at Oakwell, playing a key role in the club’s excellent recent form.
Having been used as a second-half substitute in his first four matches, O’Grady has started four of the club’s last five games.
The former Rotherham United striker has scored two goals and been an influential figure in a 2-1 win over Brighton and a 1-0 victory over Watford - another promotion-chasing club - last week.
“I can’t believe they gave us Chris O’Grady,” said Hassell, speaking exclusively to The Star.
“He’s a brilliant lad and done great for us since he’s come in. I couldn’t believe Sheffield Wednesday let him go, to be honest.
“The way he’s played for us, well he’s played a massive part in us getting six points in the last two games.”
Ironically it was O’Grady who bagged the winning - and only - goal of the game as the Owls beat the Reds at Oakwell earlier in the season.
But the well-travelled marksman, who has also had playing spells with Leicester, Notts County, Rushden, Oldham, Bury, Bradford, Stockport and Rochdale, prior to a £300,000 move to the Owls in August 2011, will unfortunately be forced to miss next Saturday’s South Yorkshire derby.
Under the terms of his loan, O’Grady will have to watch the action from the stands, no doubt with split loyalties on who he should be supporting.
“I joke with Chris that he kept (Owls boss) Dave Jones in a job - and then he got rid of him,” admitted Hassell.
“But we don’t mind because we’ve got him for the rest of the season and we appreciate how good a player he is.
“I think they have struggled a bit without him. We know what he’s capable of, we saw that when he scored against us earlier in the season.”
O’Grady had scored six goals for the Owls before Jones shipped him off to Oakwell with his future uncertain.
And the player himself as revealed that he would consider moving to Barnsley on a permanent deal.