Sheffield Wednesday: Jacques backs his former club

Huddersfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday.....GOAL...Scorer Jacques Maghoma celbrates with Chris Maguire
Huddersfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday.....GOAL...Scorer Jacques Maghoma celbrates with Chris Maguire
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Owls forward Jacques Maghoma will always be grateful to Burton Albion for giving him his big break in the game.

He also helped them to the brink of promotion from League Two a year ago - and now hopes that they can finish the job in today’s play-off final against Fleetwood.

“We lost to Bradford in the semis so it wasn’t a good ending for me,” says the forward, who stepped up to the Championship on a Bosman free.

“I’m happy to see that Burton have got to the final and, like always, I want them to do well, for the management, the staff, the chairman and everybody at the club. I spent four years there. They were the first club to give me a chance to play. It’s nice to see them doing well - I hope they can take that final step and get promotion.”

Maghoma was a young player at Spurs before switching to Burton: “I went there when I was 21; I just kept progressing, year by year, and when I scored 18 goals in my last season with them, I really grew into it, with the help of the management and staff.

“I really enjoyed it. It’s a really good club, a family club.”

The 26-year-old who can play anywhere across the front line, with his pace and skill, regarded his move to Hillsborough as a step up and things were going to plan when he was impressing the Owls management with his work last summer.

But he suffered ankle damage in the first public pre-season friendly, at Stockport, when he was brought down by the keeper while going past him and earned a penalty, which Chris Maguire netted.

Maghoma recalls: “I was playing well in pre-season games and in training. Pre-season could have been important for me, to help me to start the season well. Then I got injured at Stockport and that set me back by about a month, while the lads were training every day. I was then playing catch-up.”

He came to the fore again after Stuart Gray became manager, but suffered another setback, at Wigan. Again he was going past the keeper, was brought down, and this time injured his knee. The culprit, Ali Al Habsi, escaped a sending-off and saved Leon Best’s spot kick.

“I was playing well and again the same thing happened to me,” says Maghoma. “Maybe in future I shouldn’t go so close to goalkeepers!”

He made it back as a sub for the final game, against Ipswich, and in the build-up to that game there was this praise from Stuart Gray: “When Jacques first came in and we saw him in pre-season we thought what a good player we had. He can manipulate the ball, use his left or right foot, and twist and turn against defenders.

“You want any new signing to hit the ground running but Jacques has had two bad injuries which have prevented him from getting valuable football time. He’ll be better for having a full pre-season, as will everybody.”