Sheffield Wednesday: Year of reckoning for Owls prospect Liam Palmer

Scotland call: Liam Palmer figured against Bulgaria.
Scotland call: Liam Palmer figured against Bulgaria.
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OWLS midfield player Liam Palmer faces a big year with club and country.

He is part of Scotland Under 21s’ bid to reach the European Championship finals and figured in the 2-2 draw in Bulgaria in a qualifier on Thursday.

Scotland have two remaining games, in September, at home to Luxembourg and away to Austria, and need to win them both to be sure of a chance of qualifying for the finals in Israel next summer.

It will also be an important year with the Owls for the 20-year-old who was richly praised by Gary Megson at times but made only six league starts this season plus five in the cups, under the former boss, and was never in the 16 under Dave Jones.

Palmer is about to enter the final season of his current contract and will hope to step up his progress.

A regular place in the Scotland side will also be in his sights, after his breakthrough to become a squad regular though he was well below the age limit.

He went on from the bench in the 83rd minute in Lovech, Bulgaria, two days ago.

Scotland led through a double from Jordan Rhodes, with the 22-year-old son of Owls goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes taking his total to 48 for club and country with a late goal, but Bulgaria netted an injury-time equaliser.

With the Scots battling it out with Holland at the top of their group, coach Billy Stark says: ““We play Luxembourg in September and need to win to make sure we go to Austria needing to win, so it’s all to play for. We’ll also try to work on our goal difference against Luxembourg.”

Meanwhile, Jarrod Kyle’s April Goal of the Month is now in contention for a Goal of the Season title.

The Owls academy centre-forward’s outstanding strike in a 3-0 win against Sheffield United is one of eight contenders - among them a fine goal by his academy team-mate Tom Rowbotham, the winner for March.

Portsmouth and Southend each have two players in the running, and the other candidates are from Bristol City and Millwall.

The awards are run by League Football Education. To vote, go to their website, www.lfe.org.uk.

DID YOU KNOW? Credit card company Capital One have taken over from Carling as sponsors of the League Cup. The draw for the first round, to include the Owls, will be released on June 14.