Allardyce thanks Owls for O'Brien boost

BOLTON Wanderers boss Sam Allardyce issued a vote of thanks to Sheffield Wednesday today for boosting the career of on-loan midfield player Joey O'Brien.

O'Brien's fine form in his two months with the Owls has aided the club's promotion push and helped to earn him a Republiuc of Ireland Under 21 debut.

He has gone from being a relatively unknown 18-year-old to a player showing fresh Premiership potential.

"I wouldn't want Joey away for more than a month if he was at a club that wasn't doing well," said Allardyce, who is likely to agree to extending O'Brien's loan for a third month.

"When Peter Eustace (Owls chief scout] came to see him, he identified him immediately as someone who could play in Wednesday's first team. He has been proved correct."

Allardyce told how O'Brien has turned out to be a late developer. He was on a three-year scholarship in Bolton's academy: "If we'd had to make a decision after two years, the answer would have been no.

Bolton have been monitoring the teenager during his loan spell. He is under contract for the next two and a half years and there seems little prospect of Wednesday being allowed to keep him on a full transfer.

Saturday's game against Bradford is due to be his last for the Owls but they hope that the loan will be extended.