Sheffield Wednesday can still see a bright future for Richard O’Donnell and Arron Jameson despite feeling a need to sign Stephen Bywater on loan in the wake of Nicky Weaver’s injury.
The two youngsters are certainly not being discarded, is the message from assistant manager Chris Evans.
“Richard is a young goalkeeper who has come in and continued to make progress; we would hope there will be a good future for him and for Arron Jameson, who is a similar age,” said Evans.
“They are both working well under the guidance of Andy Rhodes [goalkeeping coach] but we have to temper that with that experience that can only come with time.
“It was a decision made collectively by the staff under the guidance of the manager. We feel we did need to have a senior goalkeeper who can bring in that experience and make sure that the other two have a good role model to work alongside.”
Bywater, aged 30, was recommended by Rhodes and worked with him while on loan at Ipswich three years ago. The keeper has cited the coach as one of the reasons why a loan move to Hillsborough appealed to him.
Evans has also spelled out what Bywater has to offer: “He’s a good size [6ft 3in], has plenty of experience and is a good communicator who is going to have some presence behind a back four to give them the right information.
“Stephen is vocal, he has an opinion. Hopefully we’ll see the best of him.”
Bywater is set for a debut against Exeter at Hillsborough today but it is less certain that captain Rob Jones will be able to play after breaking his nose again at Yeovil last Saturday.
Evans reflected: “Rob attacks every ball. We’re delighted with that. He’s a real combatant. But we have to be careful with him.
“He’s such a genuine character that he will turn out for you whether he’s got a broken nose or a fixed nose. He appears to be making good progress. We’ll see where he’s going to be in terms of selection.”
David Prutton, who injured a thigh in falling awkwardly in training, could be out for more than just today’s game.
Evans admitted: “It’s not one that’s going to keep him out for months but over the next week or two we’re going need to treat him.
“If he’s back after two weeks, great; if it takes a little bit longer, we won’t be forcing him back. As with any player, his welfare is more important.”
Loan winger Ben Marshall was one of the players who were hit by a virus - Chris Lines also suffered and missed the Yeovi match - but he has recovered and is back in training.