Sheffield Wednesday: Owls to step up striker search

Caolan Lavery was injured in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Doncaster
Caolan Lavery was injured in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Doncaster
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Sheffield Wednesday, who entertain Newcastle United in their penultimate pre-season friendly tonight, plan to step up their search for a new centre forward after losing Caolan Lavery to injury.

Northern Ireland Under-21 international Lavery faces a minimum of two months on the sidelines because of a cruciate knee ligament injury, leaving the the Owls short of options in the final third.

Lavery, who has started 10 times for Wednesday, was sent to see a specialist yesterday, having sustained the injury in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Doncaster Rovers.

His injury setback leaves head coach Stuart Gray with Atdhe Nuhiu, Gary Madine and Chris Maguire, who was frequently used in the wide positions last season.

Gray admits Wednesday have missed out on several transfer targets, including Matty Fryatt, due to the delay in Hafiz Mammadov’s takeover of the Championship club.

The Owls are still waiting for the Azerbaijani businessman’s buyout to be ratified by the Football League, with just over a week to go before they begin the new season with a trip to Brighton and Hove Albion.

“I am pestering the chairman and vice chairman Paul Aldridge to allow me to get some players in,” said Gray. “They know how important it is for me to get players in before the Brighton game. We’ve got players teed up. We’ve had players in the building who’ve had medicals. We are just waiting for the nod to get the players on board. We’ve got to be a little patient.

“It is frustrating because we’ve had players lined up before and unfortunately they couldn’t wait and have moved on to other clubs. They had other options and couldn’t wait. We will keep plugging away. I am confident we will get more players in before the Brighton game.”

Gray has confirmed Slovenian trialist Dejan Kelhar will start alongside skipper Glenn Loovens at Hillsborough tonight, kick-off 7.45pm.

Gray is likely to make a decision on his future later this week.

Meanwhile, Wednesday have been linked with Leeds defender Tom Lees.