SHEFFIELD Wednesday are ready to block any attempt by Barnsley to take top scorer Chris O’Grady away from Hillsborough.
The striker is regarded as an important member of the Owls first-team squad and played in the 3-0 win at Ipswich on Saturday.
Barnsley are looking to sign a striker on loan after losing Craig Davies to an injury, and manager Keith Hill is believed to be interested in O’Grady, who has five goals this season.
But the only players allowed to leave Hillsborough on loan so far have been a few who do not figure in Dave Jones’s immediate plans and need league games, for example Liam Palmer (at Tranmere), Mark Reynolds (Aberdeen) and Mark Beevers (Millwall).
If Jones was to extend that loan policy then it would only happen if he could replace a player immediately with someone of even higher quality.
Chris Maguire’s absence will be another factor in the equation. The Scot’s knee ligament injury leaves the club one down in the striker department for several weeks, and possibly for longer than the one month for which he would have been away if his loan move to Portsmouth had gone ahead.
The deal with Pompey was intended to be just a way of keeping Maguire match fit for the time being, rather than being the forerunner to a full transfer to the club for whom he scored three goals in a four-month loan spell last season.
Jones confirmed: “It was agreed that he could go on loan just to get games.”
Maguire twisted his knee in training on the day that he was due to join up with Portsmouth.
It was a big disappointment too to Pompey manager Michael Appleton, who said he understood that the ex-Derby forward would be out for six weeks. Appleton signed Scott Allan from West Brom instead and he played against Sheffield United on Monday.
Millwall manager Kenny Jackett intends to explore the possibility of extending Mark Beevers’ loan after it ends with Saturday’s game at Forest.
“Mark has one more game,” said Jackett. “We’ll speak to Wednesday at the end of his loan. Since he’s been here we have been unbeaten. As a young player, he’s looking to get into a Championship side and stay there so he can make his way.”
Beevers scored his first goal for the Lions in a recent 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.