GARY Megson is a man of his word.
He has promised to make more personnel changes in the January sales to keep Sheffield Wednesday in the promotion shake-up. The Owls boss refuses to tolerate underachievement so fans can expect to see a fair amount of wheeling and dealing in the New Year as he looks to strengthen their top two challenge.
Megson is acutely aware his squad does not require major surgery, just a few minor tweaks in certain areas. Knowing Megson and his backroom staff, I’m sure they have probably drafted their list of transfer targets already in preparation for the festive schedule.
Mind you, one department of the team where Wednesday are well stocked with quality and numbers is right back. It would be a big surprise if Megson splashes the cash to bolster that particular position of his side. If anything, the competition is hotting up for the right-back slot.
Currently, Newcastle loanee James Tavernier has the jersey. The 20-year-old, who can operate at full-back or centre-half, stood out in the dour FA Cup tie with Aldershot. Tavernier is quick, athletic and isn’t afraid to get forward and support the attack. His defensive credentials will be severely put under the microscope at Oldham tomorrow and at home to Huddersfield the week after but he is a terrific prospect.
Should Tavernier maintain the form he has shown in his first two matches for the club, it is more than likely Megson will look to extend his loan deal. The youngster, a graduate of Leeds United’s fabled youth system, is due to head back to Newcastle in January.
Before Tavernier arrived on the scene, Lewis Buxton was the first-choice right-back. Defensively solid and neat and tidy in possession, Buxton enjoys a tackle and was arguably one of Wednesday’s stand-out performers this term before he picked up his hamstring injury. He is expected to ready to return to full-fitness by the end of the month, along with top-scorer Gary Madine.
Then there is the little matter of Jon Otsemobor. Most observers at Hillsborough last weekend were surprised to see him included on the substitutes bench following his lengthy injury absence.
Megson revealed yesterday he had no intention of giving Otsemobor, who has been out of action since August with a calf problem, a run-out in the cup fixture and included him in the match-day squad only because he had to name seven substitutes.
Otsemobor and goalkeeper Nicky Weaver were pencilled in to play in two behind-closed-door matches but Wednesday had to call them off due to the adverse weather.
Time is running out for Otsemobor to impress Megson. His deal runs out at the end of the season. Injuries have hindered his progress throughout his time at Wednesday and stopped him from fulfilling his potential.
As it stands, Tavernier and Buxton are ahead of Otsemobor in the pecking order so he has got it all to prove between now and the summer to show that he is worthy of a regular place in the starting line-up and that he merits a new contract.