Megson faces player he most admired

Former target: MK Dons new signing Alan Smith was top of Gary Megson's wish list when he was manager of West Brom, but is up against the Owls in tonight's League One promotion clash after his loan exit from Newcastle.
Former target: MK Dons new signing Alan Smith was top of Gary Megson's wish list when he was manager of West Brom, but is up against the Owls in tonight's League One promotion clash after his loan exit from Newcastle.
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gary Megson recalls that when he was manager of West Brom he was once asked which one player he would most like to sign if he could.

His answer was Alan Smith.

“He’s had a fantastic career,” says the Owls manager, of the 31-year-old former England midfielder who faces the Owls as a member of the MK Dons squad tonight after joining them from on loan from Newcastle.

“I said him because he was a fantastic player and I really like his drive and desire,” added Megson.

“But he’s gone to MK Dons and there’s nothing for us to say about than other than he’ll be joining a good squad.

“We know it’s going to be a tough game for us, because they’re just behind us and obviously a good side.

“In the Premier League you know that you have to beat the teams who are around you; it’s probably the same in this division.”

Smith, said to be on £60,000 a week at Newcastle, is not a certain starter tonight but is regarded by Dons as a “sensational” signing.

He played against Wednesday when they lost 1-0 in the Championship at St James’s Park in August, 2009.

Dons boss Karl Robinson is still without ex-Owls midfielder Darren Potter after he missed the last game, a 4-2 defeat at Stevenage last Tuesday, because of illness.

Owls fans may think that Newcastle have done their team no favours in the last few weeks.

The Magpies refused to extend James Tavernier’s loan at Hillsborough because they saw the youngster as a right back, but he was being played by Wednesday on the right wing, after starting his time with them as a full back.

Gary Megson rated Tavernier a success in either position and had thought he would be allowed to stay, but the Owls boss accepted Alan Pardew’s decision.

MK Dons’ signing of Smith will have raised some eyebrows in League One.

He twice changed hands for £7m, in moves from Leeds to Manchester United and from Old Trafford to Newcastle but has played a total of only six minutes of senior football this season, in two outings from the bench.

He will be able to play for Dons in the play-offs if they end up in those.