Sheffield Wednesday: Antonio absence will be long

Liam Palmer, right, takes on Leeds new boy Cameron Stewart  in the Owls' 1-1 draw at Charlton
Liam Palmer, right, takes on Leeds new boy Cameron Stewart in the Owls' 1-1 draw at Charlton
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Although Leeds have succeeded in adding to their strength on the wings, Wednesday face another long absence for Michail Antonio.

Stuart Gray has confirmed that Antonio, formerly such an important player for the Owls, will be out for a “long while” as well as missing tomorrow’s game.

The caretaker boss admits that it appears the winger came back too early.

He played as a late sub against Blackpool on New Year’s Day after being out for five weeks with a knee ligament injury but broke down in training the next day.

“It’s going to be a long while before we get him back,” says Gray. “It gives an opportunity to somebody else and they have to produce the goods.

“He probably came back a bit too early. We don’t want our players coming back and breaking down. So we need to learn from this one, as well.”

During Antonio’s absence, Gray has looked to various players to fill roles in wide areas, including Jacques Maghoma, Chris Maguire and Jeremy Helan; Kieran Lee can also play out wide, on the right.

Maghoma was on the bench at Macclesfield but will be in contention for a recall.

While Antonio is back in the treatment room, new Leeds winger Cameron Stewart is set to face the Owls for the second time in 13 days.

His signing for the Whites has been confirmed, which means he is in contention for a Hillsborough debut for them after playing for Charlton against the Owls on December 29. The 22-year-old was on loan at The Valley from Hull but Leeds have secured him on loan and he will join them fully on a three–year contract in the summer.

The Leeds squad today will also include Danny Pugh, who was a success on loan with Wednesday last season at left back or on the left side of midfield.

He did not feature in the Elland Road meeting between the clubs in August but has made 11 appearances since November, including one last week in the 2-0 FA Cup defeat at Rochdale.

Leeds manager Brian McDermott welcomed Stewart’s signing: “Cameron fits the bill as the type of player we are looking to recruit here.

“He has pace, he gives us something different, and he is hungry to do well.”

Leeds chairman Salah Nooruddin said: “We’re delighted we’ve been able to secure the signature of Cameron.

“He is a young player who was attracting a lot of interest from clubs in the Championship, including a couple who are above us in the table at the moment.”