GARY Megson is confident there is plenty more to come from Sheffield Wednesday striker Chris O’Grady.
The former Rotherham ace was handed his first start since he came off injured on his debut at Bury in mid-August against neighbours Chesterfield last weekend.
O’Grady replaced David McGoldrick, who dropped to the substitutes bench, in the starting line-up and linked up neatly with Gary Madine, the leader of Wednesday’s attack, at times.
A foot injury has restricted O’Grady’s first-team outings since signing from Rochdale in a £350,000 move two months ago. Having limped off at Gigg Lane, he made his comeback as a late substitute against Exeter City. He also came on at Hartlepool United.
O’Grady, who is contracted to the Hillsborough outfit until 2014, was taken off with 18 minutes remaining at home to the Spireites and was given a standing ovation by the home faithful. He was heavily involved in the build-up to Madine’s long range effort and Owls chief Megson is convinced the 25-year-old’s performances will improve the more matches he plays.
“I thought Chris was good (against Chesterfield),” he said. “He will get better.
“He will get fitter and sharper. Chris looks strong. At times, he was getting a hold of the ball and was trying to play a bit too safe. I want him to play with a bit more abandon.”
Megson faces a selection dilemma up front before their trip to Sheffield United. He will have to make a tough decision on who should partner Madine, who is the top of the goal-scoring charts in League One with 10 to his name. The choice is between O’Grady and McGoldrick while Ryan Lowe is edging closer to full fitness from his ankle injury.
When Megson signed O’Grady, he commented: “Chris has a big physique and strong stature and defenders do not relish playing against him. He has honesty and a desire to
play at the highest level and hopefully he will achieve his ambitions at this club.”
Madine is a certain starter for the lunchtime showdown at Bramall Lane and Megson is thrilled with his performances.
“His confidence is flowing and quite rightly so,” he said. “He is playing really well and thinks he’s going to score every time he gets the ball.”
With Reda Johnson and Liam Palmer due back in the fold, Megson has options at his disposal.
“We had eight first-team players not available to us on Saturday so we were stretched a little bit but there is great character around the place and not just within the team,” he said.