Former Sunderland, Man Utd and West Ham man eyeing up possible long-term stay at Sheffield Wednesday

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Sheffield Wednesday new boy Ashley Fletcher spoke honestly about the importance of the forthcoming season will have on his career - and nudged the door open on the potential to make his loan move permanent should things go well.

The Manchester United academy graduate is only 27 but has played at a number of clubs and joins on loan from Watford having not even trained with the Hornets in preseason.

Fletcher sat out yesterday’s friendly defeat at Doncaster Rovers, instead completing a series of fitness drills on the pitch pre-match alongside injury returnees Liam Palmer and Mallik Wilks, fellow new face Juan Delgado and will-he-won’t-he non-contract figure Ben Heneghan.

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After a couple of seasons that has seen him farmed out on loan to New York Red Bulls and Wigan Athletic to mixed results, Fletcher is looking to lay roots at a club and sees his former Watford boss Xisco as a man who can bring his talent back to the fore.

“I think it’s probably the most important season of my career, to be honest,” Fletcher said.

“If I’m being honest with myself, the past couple of years haven’t been what I expected and that’s down to me. But I’ve got a point to prove that I can do it at this level, playing in the Championship and scoring goals.

“This is like a reset for me to kickstart my career and maybe long-term with Sheffield Wednesday.”

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Admitting he has critics to win over heading into the new campaign, the man Middlesbrough paid £6.5 million for six years ago spoke with huge balance on what he needs to do to get his career back on track.

He said he may well be asked to play in a number of new positions by his old boss and intimated he was hoping to do enough to be able to make a home for himself at S6.

“In football you have ups and downs,” Fletcher said. “It’s about how you bounce back. It’s common knowledge that I went up to Sunderland and had a tough time there, then I restarted my career at Middlesbrough and enjoyed my time playing football.

“I just want to restart my career again. Sheffield Wednesday provides a great environment for me to do that; a massive club with a massive fanbase. It’s a place I think I’m going to enjoy playing at.

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“I’m hopeful [that things could extend beyond a single season]. It’s for one season, but what I’m looking for is a base now. I’ve been here, there and everywhere over the last couple of years and that’s definitely not what I wanted. It’s definitely time for me to settle down and look to the future.

“Anything is possible. Sheffield Wednesday provide a great environment for to learn, even at 27, to kick on and go again.”

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