Laws keeps up the hunt

SHEFFIELD Wednesday have placed signing a new keeper among their top priorities despite the capture of Lee Grant from Derby County.

The deal for the 24-year-old former England under-21 international has been done, but Hillsborough chief Brian Laws is not about to automatically hand him the club's No 1 slot.

"I want there to be competition for it. It's a very important position for us," Laws told The Star today.

Wednesday have given 18-year-old keeper Richard O'Donnell from the Academy a pro contract.

He is likely to be third choice next season if, as expected, Laws lands another more experienced player.

Wednesday also insist they have not given up in the chase for Scunthorpe's ex-Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp, 21.

"I have heard that he has permission to speak to Norwich. In the end it will be up to the player where he goes, it is his choice. We're hoping we can reach a conclusion to this," Laws commented.

Norwich have topped the bidding for the centre-forward who scored 32 goals for League One champions Scunthorpe last season. They have a 2 million offer on the table.

Wednesday are still in talks for another player from Scun-thorpe.

Negotiations for Sheffield-born utility player Richard Hinds, 27, have been ongoing.

Laws is waiting for a reply from Chris Brunt, 22, about his future.

A contract has been offered by Wednesday to the Northern Ireland international.

"I've been hearing that he wants to stay but we'll have to see," Laws explained.

Academy lads Rocky Lekaj, a 17-year-old Kosovan, and 6ft 4in Barnsley-born defender Mark Beevers have agreed pro terms at Hillsborough.

But the Owls are prepared to let defender Graham Coughlan and striker David Graham leave.