Owls manager Dave Jones has defended the decision to sell Chris O’Grady to local rivals Barnsley, insisting the striker’s departure will allow him to bring in fresh blood.
Some Sheffield Wednesday supporters are disappointed the club let O’Grady move to Oakwell for an undislosed fee, believed to be in the region of £300,000, last week.
O’Grady initially joined the Reds on loan at the end of January and played an instrumental role in Barnsley retaining their Championship status last season, hitting six goals in 16 matches, including the opener in their thrilling final-day draw at Huddersfield Town.
Jones told The Star: “Chris enjoyed his time at Barnsley and sees we are now moving in a different direction. That’s football. For me to bring other players in, some have to go. We wish Chris all the best.”
The Wednesday chief says he would have struggled to recruit Danny Pugh and Leroy Lita in the New Year on loan had O’Grady stayed put.
“Unfortunately, we had to let someone go to create more space on the wage bill,” he said. “I had to sacrifice a player, which happened to be Chris.
“As far as I am concerned, we did good business in letting one go to free up money to bring in a couple of players.”
O’Grady has conceded he would have left Wednesday a lot sooner if it had not been for the club’s “fantastic” supporters.
“The fans have always been fighting my corner and it meant a lot to me,” he said.
“A lot of them weren’t happy when I went out on loan to Barnsley, so I’ve always been really grateful for their support because it showed they held me in high regard.
“If it wasn’t for them, and for some people at the club, I would have left a lot earlier than I did.
“To be honest, it got to last summer and I thought my time at the club might end there. I didn’t know what was going to happen.
“But I’m proud of the way I played at the start of the season and feel as though I was unlucky not to get in the side.
“The fans were fantastic, but this is a fresh challenge for me now at Barnsley and the timing is good.”