Owls: ‘Zico’ says get Mellor on board

Sheffield Wednesday v Swindon......Two goal Neil Mellor after his second goal
Sheffield Wednesday v Swindon......Two goal Neil Mellor after his second goal
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Former Wednesday star Mel Sterland says the club’s board has to be prepared to pay up for Preston North End striker Neil Mellor.

Former Wednesday star Mel Sterland says the club’s board has to be prepared to pay up for Preston North End striker Neil Mellor.

The 28-year-old Sheffield-born frontman scored 20 goals last season for Wednesday while on loan from Preston and has been one of manager Gary Megson’s main summer targets.

Mellor’s wage demands stalled a deal at the weekend after the two clubs agreed a fee last week.

Now 49-year-old Sterland, who played 347 times for the Owls scoring 49 goals, says the club must sort out a way forward or risk losing out.

He said: “It’s down to the club to get on with it and make an offer that is acceptable to the player.

“If he’s on a lot of money at Preston then a compromise has to be reached but the onus is on Wednesday.

“He’ll get a game at Preston if he doesn’t leave but I’m not sure he’ll play week-in, week-out because they’ve got some good lads up front over there.”

Mellor has one-year left on his deal at Deepdale. He is believed to be earning £9,000 per week, which is substantially higher than most League One clubs would be prepared to pay.

Preston are already embarking on a series of cost-cutting measures and would welcome the Owls taking Mellor off their books.

While Wednesday won’t discuss whether they have a wage ceiling in place it is thought that Mellor couldn’t expect to be on anywhere near the same sort of money should he move across the Pennines.

Sterland says that former team-mate Megson will still turn around the fortunes of the Owls even if Mellor isn’t in his squad next season.

He said: “My opinion hasn’t changed since Gary took over. I said he was the right man at the time and I think he still is.

“When we played together it was always obvious that he would go into management. He was never shy to tell you what he thought and was always a big motivator in the dressing room - he’d get you fired up.”

Nicknamed Zico while at Hillsborough, Sterland is still loved by Wednesdayites; whereas Megson is respected for his contribution to the club both as a player and now as a manager.

Sterland said no one should be fooled by perceptions, though: “Some people go about things in a different way.

“Gary has done well wherever he has been.

“He is the man for the job.”