Sheffield Wednesday: Gary and Nile spearhead Owls attach despite fluffed chances

Loan ace: Nile Ranger.
Loan ace: Nile Ranger.
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gOals are uppermost in both clubs’ minds as Wednesday and Carlisle get to grips at Hillsborough - with the issue more of a worry for the visitors than for the Owls.

Dave Jones is keeping faith with Nile Ranger as well as Gary Madine, who faces his former club today after a stormy encounter with them in October.

Each missed a good chance at Colchester last week, but for the Owls to net only one goal and come away with one point was unusual.

The team have scored 20 in nine games since Jones took over.

But Carlisle will focus on a dip in their recent form, which includes a total lack of goals in their last three games.

Their problem is that 15-goal top scorer Lee Miller is injured.

Jones feels that Ranger’s handicap is lack of

match sharpness, as he had not played first-team football for months before moving to Hillsborough on loan on the deadline day in March.

The Owls manager said: “Nile has done well. It’s always difficult when you bring players in at this stage of the season and they haven’t played regular first-team football. If they had been playing regular first-team football, you wouldn’t be getting them.

“He will have his dip, because he hasn’t had that battle awareness which you need. When you’ve been playing all season, you become battle-hardened.”

But Jones says that Ranger and fellow loan arrival Keith Treacy have come up to expectations. “In the small amount of time that Keith has been on the pitch, his contribution has been tremendous. They haven’t done anything we didn’t expect them to do,” he said.

The Owls boss judges that Ranger was finding his feet in his first couple of appearances, but he has scored once in his first four starts - a fine goal at Huddersfield, tucked into the bottom corner in style after he outpaced and outmuscled his marker.

Madine is on 18 goals and would love another against Carlisle today in view of his acrimonious return to Brunton Park in October.

He was controversially sent off then charged with misconduct over his angry reaction to the dismissal. He also clashed verbally with Carlisle fans on the night and subsequently on the internet.

The striker was banned for an extra game - making two in all - under the misconduct charge and fined £500 by the FA.

Carlisle boss Greg Abbott played down the loss of Miller: “There are definitely goals in the team. At Hillsborough they might be difficult to come by again. But we have to try to find a way of getting them.”