WEDNESDAY must play a waiting game as they head towards the New Year and the important second half of the season.
They hope that a fresh loan deal for Ben Marshall will be concluded within the next two weeks, face fitness checks on Nicky Weaver and Rob Jones ahead of tomorrow’s game at Preston, and look for returns for Lewis Buxton and Gary Madine early in 2012.
Marshall’s current loan does not run out until January 15 so he can play at least three more games before that, against Preston, against Tranmere on Monday and Charlton on January 14.
The Owls face West Ham in the FA Cup on January 8 but Stoke denied permission for him to play in the earlier rounds.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis has said that he wants Marshall to stay with Wednesday for the rest of the season and gave the impression that a new Britannia Stadium deal with him had been agreed,
But it appears that the formalities have not yet been finalised, with Gary Megson saying: “Ben’s contract with Stoke is up at the end of the season and Stoke need to sit down and talk to him about that first and go from there.
“It’s nothing to do with us other than Ben’s here until January 15. I’ve spoken to Tone - I do that quite a lot anyway - and we’ll deal with it as and when it arises.
“Everybody knows what we’d like to do; it’s whether we can get it done.
“In football management you don’t get optimistic or pessimistic; you have to be pretty pragmatic and take what happens, because I don’t know what Stoke are going to offer Ben, and I don’t know what Ben is going to want from them. It’s nothing to do with us.
“I speak to Tone on a regular basis. I know what’s going on, and we’ll just wait and see.”
Megson also still hopes that a return for Stephen Bywater can be negotiated by chief executive Paul Aldridge.
Weaver could play at Preston if he is fit, with Megson a fan of experience in goal, and it is hoped that a back spasm will settle quickly.
Rob Jones is “sore” with his back problem, but not ruled out for tomorrow.
Buxton is closer than Madine to a comeback but Megson cannot say for sure when they will be back.
Three other loans end in January: Miguel Llera, on the third; James Tavernier, ninth; and Sanchez Watt, 16th.