Sheffield Wednesday: Safety-first in managing Caolan Lavery return

Caolan Lavery
Caolan Lavery
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The Owls may be deeply enveloped in a goalscoring crisis but Stuart Gray insists he will not be rushing one of the club’s most dangerous players back from injury.

Just one goal has been netted by Wednesday in their last six matches while the ticking clock since their last strike in a home game has reached 482 minutes.

While Gray has tried and tested all attacking options at his disposal in the hunt of goals, he remains without the services of Caolan Lavery who was struck down with a knee injury in pre-season.

Light is beginning to appear at the end of the tunnel for the Northern Irish forward, who could appear in a friendly match with Middlesbrough today.

But Gray has pledged to take the cautious approach when handling Lavery’s return to action.

“We won’t put pressure on Caolan,” Gray told the Star.

“He’s back in training,he’s going very well and he’s confident with it.

“Hopefully he’ll get a run out against Middlesbrough.

“But we have to be careful with him.”

Gray has also urged caution to Lavery himself and has told the 22-year-old to be honest about his condition as he heads towards a first appearance of the season.

The Owls head coach will be keen to avoid another situation like the one in which Sam Hutchinson found himself after being forced off just seven minutes into his return to action following a two month lay off.

Gray said: “Caolan has got to be open and honest with us.

“If he feels anything we will shut him down.

“The most important thing is he’s back and he stays back.

“Our problem at the moment is scoring goals.

“We know he’s got goals in him and hopefully he will give us a lift.”

This was the season Lavery was expected to establish himself as a regular feature of Owls matchday squads after largely impressing following his return from a loan spell with Plymouth a year ago.

Lavery marked his return from Home Park with two goals in the 6-0 mauling of Leeds in January before making another 18 appearances and netting two further goals.

But his progress was halted in the summer when he suffered a knee injury in the friendly at Doncaster.

His recovery was slower than expected, ensuring Lavery’s delight that his nightmare may be close to being over.

“I’m buzzing to be back training with the lads,” he told the Owls website.

“It’s been a long road but I’m back out on the pitch and it feels good.

“I’ve received a lot of positive tweets from supporters.

“I look through them all and they have really helped, so I would like to thank everyone for that.

“I’ve had great support here at the club too.

“I did well in the first team last season when the gaffer gave me a big chance and now I want to repay the faith everyone has shown in me.”

The friendly clash with Middlesbrough will feature mainly players from the Owls’ development squad with Lavery pushing for his first 45 minute run out of his recovery.

Supporters are welcome to attend the Boro friendly, which kicks off at 1pm at the Middlewood Road training ground.