Playing for his future

Long-term aim: Richard O'Donnell wants to become Wednesday's No 1 goalkeeper

Long-term aim: Richard O'Donnell wants to become Wednesday's No 1 goalkeeper

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sheffielder and Owls fan Richard O’Donnell is set to return to the side against Aldershot - viewing tomorrow’s FA Cup second-round tie as part of his mission to secure a Hillsborough future.

The 23-year-old’s contract runs out next summer but he wants to stay at the club.

His cause has been helped by some impressive performances when he has stood in for experienced keepers Nicky Weaver and Stephen Bywater in the past - including the first-round tie at Morecambe.

There may be further opportunities beyond tomorrow for him, with Weaver not yet ready for a full game after a knee injury and Bywater’s loan ending in a fortnight’s time.

But O’Donnell’s long-term goal is to be the club’s No 1 keeper.

He said: “I’m out of contract in the summer. That does prey on your mind a bit.

“All I can do is to concentrate on what I’m doing at present and hopefully I’ll do enough to earn a new contract.

“Hopefully I’m doing enough, then we’ll have to see what the summer brings.

“Without a doubt, I’d love to stay at the club. I’ve grown up around here and I’d love to carry on playing for Sheffield Wednesday.”

O’Donnell, from Walkley, acknowledges Gary Megson’s point that goalkeepers sometimes have to wait to establish themselves as a No 1, but once there they can have longer careers than outfield players:

“I’m 23 now and I’ve not played that many games, whereas an outfield player probably would have played a lot more, but we do get a longer career in general,” he said.

“That’s something I’m looking forward to: hopefully getting in the team here in the future and playing week in week out.”

O’Donnell is expected to make his 17th start for the Owls and again be preferred to 22-year-old Arron Jameson, former No 2 keeper and another whose contract expires next summer.

Meanwhile, former Owls assistant manager Russ Wilcox has been appointed as assistant to Bournemouth boss Lee Bradbury, and received a glowing reference from Brian Laws, under whom he worked at Scunthorpe, Hillsborough and Burnley.

Laws said: “Russ is a terrific coach who is well liked by players and staff; he’s a highly qualified coach and assistant who can pass on his knowledge to the manager.”

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