Sheffield Wednesday: Madine targets Owls starting spot

Owls striker Gary Madine.
Owls striker Gary Madine.
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Gary Madine is desperate to prove to Owls head coach Stuart Gray over the summer he is worthy of a regular starting berth.

The striker, released from prison in February after serving four months of an 18-month sentence for two assaults, wants to spearhead their attack come the start of new Championship season on August 9.

Madine, who has another year left on his Hillsborough contract, was loaned out his old club Carlisle United at the end of last season. The Gateshead-born forward bagged two goals in five starts.

Now Madine is eager to impress Gray in pre-season.

He told the club website: “I want to try and get in the team. If that is not the case, then hopefully I will get in a team somewhere else. I just want to play football for a year. I have wasted enough time on the sidelines for various reasons.

“I am confident I can get back in the team and start scoring goals again. One hundred per cent.”

The 23-year-old is targeting a goal in Wednesday’s opening pre-season fixture at York City a week on Saturday.

“It’s been a quiet summer,” he said. “I’m doing extra training and I’m hoping it is going to pay off.”

Wednesday reported back for pre-season training today and Madine admitted the double session was “tough”.

He said: “I thought it was going to be a light session but I would beg to differ. I was struggling at times. It was quite hard. The gaffer wants us to be the fittest team in the league so bring it on.”

Ex- Owls striker Luke Varney, meanwhile, has signed a one-year deal with Blackburn Rovers after being released by Leeds United.

The 31-year-old, who notched 11 goals in 43 Sheffield Wednesday outings, spent the final two months of the 2013/14 season on loan at Rovers, making 12 appearances.

Varney moved to Leeds in the summer of 2012 from Portsmouth, hitting eight goals in 50 matches.

He becomes Rovers second summer signing following the arrival of Chris Brown.