GARY Megson has dismissed claims it was a risk throwing top scorer Gary Madine straight back into the side against League One pacesetters Charlton Athletic.
The Sheffield Wednesday boss handed the striker, who has been on the sidelines nearly two months with a broken toe, a surprise first-team recall at home to the Addicks.
The Gateshead-born player had a goal chalked off for offside in the first half but he made little impact during the contest and was taken off with 26 minutes remaining.
When asked if it was a gamble to start Madine, a defiant Megson said: “No, not particularly, because he stuck the ball in the net and he was the only one to do that.
“I thought Gary did okay. The only reason we brought him off was because we thought he was bound to run out of steam.”
Former Wednesday right-back Mel Sterland also defended Megson’s decision to select Madine, who has netted 11 goals in 20 starts this term.
“It is like having a new player having Gary back,” he said. “He had not played in a while so it was always going to be hard for him. You could tell he looked a bit sluggish. The thing is Gary knows where the goal is and he was scoring goals for fun at the start of the season so hopefully we can get him fully fit and firing on all cylinders soon.”
Megson said left-back Julian Bennett is still recovering from the concussion he sustained against West Ham and remains an injury doubt for the Hartlepool fixture.