The chance to get in front

Aiming high: Clinton Morrison has had a good pre-season and is looking to shine alongside Gary Madine against Rochdale
Aiming high: Clinton Morrison has had a good pre-season and is looking to shine alongside Gary Madine against Rochdale
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GARY Megson is looking to frontline partners Clinton Morrison and Gary Madine to stake strong claims for places and produce goals.

The spotlight falls on the pair at Hillsborough tomorrow as they are the club’s only two senior strikers.

It is no secret that the manager is looking to bring in two extra ones.

But he believes that the duo who netted 29 goals between them last season still have a part to play.

Morrison has scored 162 goals in his career, including 11 for Wednesday last season, and has already targeted a total of 20 in the coming campaign.

Madine totalled 18 last season - 13 of them for Carlisle before his move to Hillsborough.

Morrison, though overshadowed by Neil Mellor in 2010-11, is the only player in Wednesday’s squad who has made a long career out of getting goals.

Megson said: “Clinton has got to a certain age; all the time he’s got to live up to those standards. I’m sure he can. He’s had a good pre-season

“But we haven’t got enough proven goalscorers in the squad.

“Gary Madine and Clinton have played together a fair bit. They’re the only two strikers we’ve got. It’s up to them.”

The Owls have told players of the standards that are expected of them.

Megson, without revealing whether strikers have been set goal targets, explained: “As an example, if you play outside left for us, you’re expected to run 12,000 metres in 90 minutes and sprint 1,500 metres, and over the course of the season you’re expected to score eight goals.

“There are standards that need to be set and they have to attain them. With the standards that we have asked for, none of them have done it in the past, apart from Clinton.”

Megson is wary about setting out his ambitions for this season. “You can have a Blackpool donkey and say you want to win the Grand National. It’s your ambition, but you ain’t going to do it. You have to have a horse that’s capable of doing that,” he said.

“We have to have a squad, a team, that’s capable of getting Sheffield Wednesday where we want to be.

“We’re second favourites [in the bookmakers’ odds], but there are a lot of clubs who are in much better position than us, though there isn’t one club that’s better than this one or has a better group of supporters.

“Our squad is not big enough, and we finished l5th last season. We have let more players go than we have brought in, and

the wage bill has dropped dramatically.

“So they’re making us second favourites purely on history and what this club is to the rest of the country.”

Megson believes fans know the score: “They know what our squad is. They know what’s been happening here over the last 15 years.”

“But I won’t get them to alter their expectations, because Sheffield Wednesday should be pushing to get out of this division straight away.

“Whether you’ve got the squad and team capable of doing that remains to be seen.

“I think there are three teams who would be silly to say it, but if they did they would say they expect to get promotion.

“I don’t think we’re one of them, but we’ve got some qualities that everybody else will be looking at.”

Megson refused to name the three clubs, but Huddersfield will be one.

He added: “I’ve been really pleased with the work that Paul [Aldridge] and Milan [Mandaric] have done in opening it up a bit in terms of the players who have gone out.

Now we are in that position we talked about it in May; players have gone, now hopefully we can bring more in.

It’s about getting that over the line.

“If we can do it quickly, we’ll have had a fantastic off-season.”

MATCHFACTS

The Teams

OWLS (possible): Weaver; Buxton, Batth, R Jones, Bennett; Sedgwick, Semedo, Prutton, D Jones; Morrison, Madine (4-4-2).

DALE: Kean; Darby, Holness, Trotman, Widdowson; Kennedy, Jones, Tutt; Thompson or Adams, O’Grady, Grimes (4-3-3).

The Referee

Nigel Miller (Co Durham): A former police firearms officer, now retired after 30 years in the force, he relaxes by breeding birds. He sent off Richard Hinds in the Owls’ 4-2 defeat at Scunthorpe in the Carling Cup last August.