OWLS loan star Ben Marshall has been given the go-ahead by Stoke to remain at Hillsborough for the rest of the season.
Wednesday fans will be delighted at the decision over the 20-year-old winger who has been a big hit and whose current loan deal runs out next month. Gary Megson has seen the forward’s future as a vital issue that needed quick resolution.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis has also revealed that a new three-contract has been agreed with Marshall, whose current deal was due to run out next summer, and that he could have a long-term future at the Britannia Stadium.
But Pulis feels the forward is not yet ready for the Premier League so can continue his development by playing for promotion-chasing Wednesday. Megson had wanted the Owls to try to buy Marshall or failing that keep him on loan.
Pulis said: “He’s not ready for us at the moment, but given time we think he can make the right sort of progress. He’s impressed us in his time at Stoke. Now it’s up to him to knuckle down and continue improving in the years to come.” I’ve been to watch him up there and he’s done smashing for them. I picked Sheffield Wednesday because I have such a good relationship with Gary and I knew he’d be looked after.
“We would like him to stay up there for the rest of the season for two reasons. One is the fact he needs games and he’s getting them with Wednesday. The other is the fact they are going for promotion and I want Ben to experience that.”
After their trip to Preston on Saturday, the Owls have the fairly unusual sequence of four successive home games. Tranmere, Charlton and Hartlepool and the FA Cup tie against West Ham.
“It will be good for his education to play in pressure matches and in front of big crowds with Wednesday.”
Megson is also keen to bring back Stephen Bywater from Derby next month after the success of his emergency loan. The manager, who has five players on loan, talked after the defeat at Walsall about a need to resolve off-the-field “issues” quickly, and perhaps had Marshall and Bywater uppermost in his mind.
The Walsall setback came in the first game after Bywater left. “I’m not blaming Richard [O’Donnell] but we lost,” said Megson after the match.. “It’s not about competition. I know what I want.”
Megson is also eyeing New Year returns to fitness for Gary Madine and Lewis Buxton and hopes for early all-clears for Nicky Weaver, who was ruled out of the Walsall game by a tooth abcess, and Rob Jones, who went off with sciatica.