SHEFFIELD Wednesday’s new loan signing Isaiah Osbourne could get an instant debut at Peterborough tomorrow - with a mission to beef up the Owls midfield.
Manager Alan Irvine had been searching for a central midfield man for weeks and has landed the six-footer from Aston Villa on loan for the rest of the season.
Osbourne, who has been compared to Patrick Vieira in his style of play, strengthens a department that will be without the injured Tommy Miller for up to six weeks.
Wednesday, needing to win tomorrow to boost their promotion campaign and further ease the pressure on Irvine after Saturday’s Cup win, are also boosted by the return to the squad of Gary Madine, who was ineligible for the 4-1 win against Hereford.
Osbourne yesterday became Irvine’s fifth January signing, following Madine, Mark Reynolds, Michael Morrison and Reda Johnson. The transfer window closes at 11pm today.
Osbourne, aged 23, was born in Birmingham and came through the ranks at Villa.
He has started seven Premier League games and gone on 12 times as a sub. In other competitions for Villa his record is seven games plus four outings from the bench.He has played one senior match this season, in the Europa League, a 1-1 draw away to Rapid Vienna in August.
Osbourne spent three months on loan with Middlesbrough last season and played nine games for them.
The season before that, he was with Forest for the final two months and made eight appearances.
He will eligible for the Owls’ FA Cup fifth-round tie on the weekend of February 19-20 at Birmingham, one of Clinton Morrison’s former clubs.
The Owls striker’s penalty double on Saturday took his tally for the season to 10 and total in the tournament to five.
“Hopefully I can more in the League,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been brought here to do - score goals and get us out of this league.
“We have a tough game at Peterborough. The Cup is a bonus. The league is our bread and butter. We need to win. Draws aren’t good enough. Games are running out.
“If we can win this one and our home game against MK Dons on Saturday we’ll be in a good position, everyone will be happy and we can kick on.” Saturday’s win reduced the heat on Irvine, and followed last week’s support for him from Milan Mandaric. Morrison added: “It’s great that the manager has backed the chairman. Hopefully we can stick together and kick on.”
Saturday’s victory earned the Owls another £90,000 from the FA Cup prize fund and increased their total to £200,500.
The Cup date means that the Owls’ home league game against Brentford on February 19 will be postponed.