Charlie Dawes’ unexpected taste of the Wednesday first-team scene must be an incentive to every young player on the club’s books.
It shows that opportunities can be earned and it reflects Dave Jones’ desire to give home-grown talent its chance if it is deserved.
Dawes, a 17-year-old forward, was relatively unknown when he was thrust into a debut in the friendly at Chesterfield last Saturday as a 66th minute replacement for Paul Corry on the left side of midfield.
He was not even on the team-sheet sheet that was handed out to the Press before the game - nor was Caolan Lavery, a better-known youngster who replaced Jermaine Johnson up front in the 74th minute.
Dawes comes from Chesterfield and has been on the Owls books since he was very young; he is in the second and final year of his academy scholarship and hoping to earn a pro contract at the end of the season. Coach Lee Bullen said: “Charlie has worked his way up. He’s a striker-cum-winger, an attacking type of player.
“He’s done really welly and has come into the Unders 21s quite a few times. He has a big chance if he keeps progressing.
“He’s very quick, direct, and works hard. He can be selfish in front of goal, which can be frustrating at times - but he’s not over-awed about shooting from anywhere.
“If he continues to develop in the right way he’ll have a chance of a pro contract.
“It’s an inspiration for the young players - they can see that anyone who does well might get an opportunity
“But he’s got a long way to go; he’s got to keep his feet on the ground and keep working.”
Dawes started his week back down to earth when he was pencilled in for a sub spot with the Under 21s at Buxton and a place in the Under 18s against Bury.
Caolan Lavery is a Canada-born 20-year-old striker and Northern Ireland U-21 international who joined the Owls as a member of the development squad last summer.
He was an unused sub for the Capital One Cup ties against Fulham and Southampton last season, and in January joined Southend on loan for a month; he made four appearances, from the bench, and made a favourable impression on the staff there.
Like Dawes, he was given a chance in the friendly derby at Chesterfield because Jones felt it was merited.
Dawes had also scored the goal for the Under 21s in a 1-1 draw with Barnsley side AFP on Friday
Jones, reflecting on the Chesterfield game, said: “It’s another stage in development for Dawesy; he did one of two good things on Saturday; it was great experience for him. We’ve got something there to work on.”
The manager believes that creating a flow of home-grown players is vital to the lifeblood of a club.
He has paid close attention to the Owls youth set-up and is encouraged by the potential of some of the players who have begun to emerge.
“We’re quite excited by some of the kids who are coming through,” he says.
“The youth policy is the foundation of a club, and we are working really hard on ours.”