Strike ace needs the gift of goals

Unlucky streak: Chris O'Grady's form deserves a better goal return
Unlucky streak: Chris O'Grady's form deserves a better goal return
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GARY Megson, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, hopes Chris O’Grady’s luck will change in front of goal over the festive period.

The striker has notched just two goals in 11 starts and two substitute appearances since swapping Rochdale for Wednesday in mid-August.

O’Grady is expected to lead the line at old club Oldham Athletic tomorrow, having established himself as a first-team regular under Megson, who reckons the forward’s consistent performances have warranted more goals.

Megson, nominated for the November Manager of the Month award in League One, is encouraging the Nottingham-born player to keep getting into dangerous positions.

Megson said: “I want Chris scoring goals but I want him playing like he is doing at the moment. He is a real handful for whoever we play against.”

O’Grady’s two strikes have come in the Steel City derby and in the FA

Cup first-round triumph at Morecambe.

Megson pointed out the 25-year-old was unlucky not get on the scoresheet at Wycombe Wanderers and Colchester United.

“He has had quite a bit of misfortune but he has to keep plugging away,” said Megson. “It will turn around at some point but he has to keep getting in there.

“Chris’s goalscoring record is not that fantastic but it is not bad and it can get better.”

Megson has previously compared O’Grady to Bolton Wanderers attacker Kevin Davies, who worked

with Megson at

the Reebok Stadium. The Owls chief says the duo are similar in terms of style.

Megson said: “I remember after one season there the statistics telling us that Kevin had made something like 73 per cent of our goals and yet only scored three of them himself.

“I told him at the time: ‘When the ball comes in, just get yourself into the centre of the box.’ Kevin did that and got 13 the following season and we are asking Chris to do exactly the same.”

As the halfway stage approaches in the league programme, Megson still feels there are areas where the second-placed Owls can improve. Keeping more clean

sheets are at the top of his priority list.

He said: “I got West Bromwich Albion promoted to the Premier League with 27 clean sheets once. We didn’t score a huge amount of goals but we didn’t let in a huge amount.

“Our goalscoring is okay but should be better, but our goals against is not something I am too pleased with. It is not as good I would expect purely and simply because of the Stevenage and Carlisle results.

“We are doing okay but we have got to improve.”

History lesson

The Owls secured a 3-2 victory at Oldham in March with goals from Chris Sedgwick (2) and Mark Beevers. Injuries to Nicky Weaver, James O’Connor and Gary Madine mean Reda Johnson is likely to be the sole survivor from the team who started at Boundary Park. You have to go back nearly eight years for the last time Oldham defeated the South Yorkshire club.

Teams and ref

OLDHAM (possible) 4-4-2: Cisak; Lee, Diamond, Mvoto, Black; Parker, Furman, Adeyemi, Scapuzzi; Simpson, Kuqi (4-4-2).

OWLS (possible) 4-4-2: Bywater; Tavernier, Jones, Batth, Johnson; Prutton or Palmer, Lines, Semedo, Marshall; O’Grady, Lowe (4-4-2).

Kevin Friend (Leicestershire): The Premier League official has booked 45 players and sent two off in 12 matches this term. This will be the first time he has taken charge of a Sheffield Wednesday match since they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Cardiff almost three years ago. He dished out just one yellow card that day to Sean McAllister.