Weaver fit to face Notts County but able deputy will eye Blackburn tie

Richard O'Donnell
Richard O'Donnell
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NICKY Weaver has been passed fit and could return against Notts County at Hillsborough today.

But that will not stop Richard O’Donnell from believing - with good reason - that he can aid the Owls’ cause this season.

He performed capably as Weaver sat out the Bury game with a swollen knee, and will hope for another chance at Blackburn on Wednesday.

O’Donnell seized his opportunity when he was called up as one of 10 changes for the previous round of the Carling Cup, making a top-class save in open play and pulling off a vital stop in the shoot-out, as Wednesday won 4-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

Gary Megson recognises the ability of the 22-year-old who proved a capable deputy when Weaver missed eight games during last season’s run-in.

He also kept the score down to 2-1 with a late, splendid save at Bury on Tuesday

The Owls manager said at Gigg Lane: “Richard did okay. He was unfortunate to be on the losing side; he’s done all right since I’ve been here. He’s a good young goalkeeper.”

Megson felt that O’Donnell deserved better than some of the defending that went on in front of him.

Weaver has already said that he knows he must stay on his toes, with O’Donnell providing strong competition for his place.

So whoever plays in goal today, it will be maybe the least of Megson’s worries.

But he believes that his team are well capable of improving on the disappointing displays at Bournemouth and Bury.

“We’re back at Hillsborough, where we’ve won two out of two, not conceded a goal, and knocked a Championship club out of the Carling Cup, albeit on penalties, with our fringe players,” he said.

“We have to do more of what we’ve been doing at home; we certainly have to learn from the defeat at Bury.

“We’ve got to get the ball down and play more. We’ve been creating chances but they’re not clear-cut enough.”

“It’s always good to get back to Hillsborough. I’d like to play every game here.

“The unfortunate thing is that it’s also fantastic for the opposition. They love it. It gives them such a lift.”

Notts County will be no exception, he believes: “Martin [Allen] will have them wound up.

“They had had a couple of good results, and to take Forest to 3-3 in the Carling Cup was a terrific performance.

“That said, I’m much more interested in how we play.”