Sheffield Wednesday: Old boy Aiden McGeady ready for Hillsborough return

Aiden McGeady

Aiden McGeady

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He promised so much but delivered so little.

Of Wednesday’s 18 loan and permanent signings last season, Aiden McGeady was perhaps the biggest disappointment.

When the Owls signed the Republic of Ireland international on a temporary basis in February, fans welcomed his arrival, believing he was the final piece in their promotion jigsaw.

Head coach Carlos Carvalhal was convinced McGeady would bring flair and creativity for the run-in. Given McGeady has spent a large portion of his career plying his trade at the highest level and the Owls were short of options in the wide areas, the deal, on the face of it, looked a shrewd piece of business.

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But McGeady struggled to make an impression at Hillsborough. There were times when the former Celtic youngster looked off the pace and found it difficult to influence matches.

McGeady racked up 10 starts and three substitute appearances in his three-month loan spell. The wide man’s best performance in Owls colours arguably came at Nottingham Forest when he grabbed his only goal in a comprehensive 3-0 success for Carvalhal’s men.

“Coming inside our team is not easy with the way that we play,” said Carvalhal after the team’s win at the City Ground. “The requests that we want, physical and mental, it is not easy to understand what we ask for, even for players that are experienced.”

McGeady failed to win over Wednesday’s fans and Carvalhal, culminating in him being left out of their Championship Play-Off Final squad. Following that snub, McGeady joined up with Ireland for their pre-European Championship 2016 training camp with manager Martin O’Neill. He featured three times as a sub in the tournament.

Despite McGeady’s below-par displays last term, Preston North End, who Carvalhal’s side entertain this weekend, offered him a first-team lifeline. The Lilywhites snapped up the 30-year-old on a season long-loan deal on transfer deadline.

McGeady is enjoying his stint with the Lancashire club, making nine appearances.

“The manager has been good, giving me a licence to go and express myself which is what I needed because the last couple of years have been very stop-start,” he said. “Before my first game against Barnsley, the gaffer just said to me to go out and play how I was did three or four years ago. I was thinking, ‘He’s right, that is what I need to do’ and it has been enjoyable.”

McGeady is not the only ex-Owls player in Preston’s ranks. Defenders Tommy Spurr and Marnick Vermijl could also be involved but Saturday’s fixture will probably come too soon for Stevie May, who is still recovering from a serious knee injury.

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