Sheffield Wednesday: McCabe faces double challenge

Rhys McCabe pictured in training with the Owls
Rhys McCabe pictured in training with the Owls
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Scotland Under 21s play tonight without Rhys McCabe - as the Wednesday midfield player faces the challenge of a revival with club and country.

He has lost his place in the Owls first team and the international set-up but is still rated by Dave Jones as a real prospect.

The 21-year-old enjoyed a 1-0 pre-season friendly win against his former club Rangers and scored a fine goal with a long-range free kick in the Capital One Cup 2=1 defeat at Rotherham.

But he has been on the bench for league games and was not involved in last Saturday’s match at Middlesbrough - instead he played in the under 21 Sheffield derby on Friday.

He began the season hoping for international and Championship football, and Jones said that this could be a big year for him.

When McCabe was omitted from the Scotland Under 21 squad to face England in a friendly at Bramall Lane last month, it was thought that manager Billy Stark may have been influenced by the fact that this was a friendly.

But the Scots’ game against Holland in Nijmegen tonight is a European Championship qualifier and the Owls midfielder has not been selected for that.

The fact that Wednesday manager Jones has been looking to bring in an additional, creative midfield player, suggests that he still does not think that McCabe is ready for a regular Championship place.

League football could enhance McCabe’s chances of an international revival.

With only five Championship games played so far, there is time yet for the youngster to stake a stronger claim.

Scotland tonight will attempt to bounce back from their 6-0 thrashing by England at the Lane.

Stark said: “There is no doubt about it - a win would be fantastic.

“You always tell them to be confident and expect to win the game.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing a team that’s much higher in the rankings, who are maybe better players man for man, there are still ways of overcoming that.

“We didn’t do it against England but we can do it against Holland. We will try to have a positive mind-set.”

Meanwhile, Wednesday director of performance Alex Armstrong has left to work with the Bahrain national team, whose new manager is Anthony Hudson, a former Newport County boss who coached under Harry Redknapp at Spurs and is the 32-year-old son of former Chelsea, Stoke and Arsenal midfield player Alan Hudson.

Hudson junior worked with Bahrain’s Olympic side and led the Under 23s to their first Gulf Cup of Nations title this year. He was promoted to the senior set-up last month after the departure of Argentina’s Gabriel Calderon.