JOE Mattock has been challenged to force his way into the Sheffield Wednesday starting line-up following the international break after a frustrating start to his career at Hillsborough.
The 22-year-old, signed on a free transfer in the summer after being shown the door by West Bromwich Albion, has yet to make an appearance in Owls colours since penning a three-year deal with the Championship side.
Neither Mattock or fellow defensive recruit Kieran Lee have featured in the club’s opening six outings.
Mattock, who came through the ranks at Leicester City and was sold when Milan Mandaric was their chairman, has been an unused substitute on four occasions.
Leicester-born Mattock was in the frame to deputise for the injured Reda Johnson in the Capital One Cup tie with Fulham before he suffered a knee injury in training, handing an opportunity to Daniel Jones to prove his credentials.
Mattock, who has enjoyed loan spells at Sheffield United, Portsmouth and Brighton and Hove Albion, was passed fit the for the trip to Crystal Palace.
But manager Dave Jones kept faith with Daniel Jones in the left-back position.
The Wednesday boss told The Star: “Joe has been a bit unlucky because if he had not got injured in training, he would have probably been ahead of Daniel Jones, but fair play to Daniel because he did well against Fulham.
“Joe is back up and running so it is up to him to force his way into the side. That place is up for grabs because Reda [Johnson] and Joe have been injured. Daniel is the one who has been playing but you want competition for places.”
Mattock, who has represented England at Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 levels, was given a run-out in a behind-closed-doors match earlier this week to improve his fitness levels.
Wednesday, meanwhile, have been initially allocated 1,150 tickets for the Capital One Cup tie at Southampton.