“I'm getting closer”: The Sheffield Wednesday starlet edging towards first-team action
A stretched squad and a manager keen to forge a new future for Sheffield Wednesday could see the club’s younger players handed opportunities to impress in the first team in the coming weeks.
The Owls face a run of eight games in 24 days after their season restart against Nottingham Forest next week and with a number of players approaching the end of their contract at the end of June may see their squad shrunk further as the Championship enters July.
The likes of Osaze Urhoghide and Alex Hunt have already played under Wednesday boss Garry Monk this season with a handful of other players having sampled the experience of featuring in a matchday squad. One youngster desperate to make the coming weeks count and join those ranks is Irish attacking midfielder Conor Grant.
The 19-year-old was pictured taking part in the first team’s training match at Hillsborough earlier this week.
“The first week back was so tough,” he said. “It was basically just all running as the coaches tried to get our fitness back up to speed after the long lay-off. I have to admit that wasn't a whole lot of fun, but last week was much better as we got to do a lot more ball work.
“I'm enjoying training with the first team and I feel I'm getting closer all the time to making a breakthrough.”
Republic of Ireland youth international Grant was a big part of the side that won the Professional Development League North and National double last season and has gone on to impress in the under-23s this time out.
“I played a lot with the Under-23 team this season before the pandemic hit and I felt I was ready to make the step up to the first team,” he said speaking to his local paper the Fingal Independent.
“The manager Garry Monk has been very encouraging and I get on well with him. He has given me a lot of advice and information which has made me a better player and hopefully I'll get to show what I can do sooner rather than later.”
The youngster arrived in South Yorkshire at the age of 15 with Wednesday having beaten a number of other English clubs to his signature. With Monk at the helm he has regularly featured in first-team training and feels he is ready make his full bow in the coming weeks.
“The plan is to keep working hard and hopefully I'll get my chance,” he said. “If not this season then at the beginning of the next. I'm really enjoying life over here now and we have a great group of lads at the club.
“The Irish goalkeeper Keiren Westwood is here as well and he was a great help when I first came over and kind of looked after me as I was finding my feet.
“I'm just really eager now to put on the boots again and play a competitive game of football. The goal for me now is to try and get in one of those match-day squads.”