SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: OWLS in new Antonio bid

Wanted man: last season's Hillsborough loan star Michail Antonio will be the subject of transfer talks while Wednesday and Reading are both in Portugal
Wanted man: last season's Hillsborough loan star Michail Antonio will be the subject of transfer talks while Wednesday and Reading are both in Portugal
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SHEFFIELD Wednesday and Reading are set for top-level talks in an attempt to resolve the Michail Antonio saga.

The clubs are understood to be taking an ideal opportunity to thrash out the winger’s future while they are both in Portugal.

It means that the Owls are looking for a double result - in tonight’s friendly against the Royals in Albufeira and in their summer-long pursuit of Antonio, who has already been the subject of some negotiations.

Wednesday are believed to be offering around £700,000 for the man who was a major force in their promotion campaign and believes he will have to leave Reading if he is to earn first-team football.

Reading owner Anton Zingarevic, director of football Nick Hammond, chief executive Nigel Howe and manager Brian McDermott are all in Portugal, as well as Owls manager Dave Jones and chairman Milan Mandaric.

Antonio played for the first half when the Royals drew 1-1 with Portuguese side Quarteirense in Quarteira on Saturday.

The Owls are also working on other possible deals - among them Portsmouth midfielder David Norris - as Dave Jones aims to bring in six more players.

A move back into the market for another goalkeeper is ruled out now that Chris Kirkland has cleared up an undisclosed personal issue and pledged his commitment to the club.

He is due to rejoin training on Friday, when the squad get back to work in Sheffield after flying back from Portugal tomorrow.

The Owls had to borrow a Portuguese goalkeeper, Carlos Henriques, for Sunday’s match against Sporting Lisbon as a precaution after Nicky Weaver and Stephen Bywater felt minor niggles.

Arron Jameson missed the Portugal trip after picking up a pelvic injury.

But Bywater could play tonight against Reading.

Kirkland, signed from Wigan this summer, was given permission to miss the trip and has thanked the club and fans for their understanding and patience. He said he had to deal with a “private matter” and was pleased that it is now resolved.