Sheffield derby: Sheffield United loanee Gary Madine ready for hostile reception from Sheffield Wednesday fans

All eyes will be on Gary Madine when the striker returns to Hillsborough to face his old club with Sheffield United.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 4:46 pm
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 4:52 pm
Former Sheffield Wednesday striker Gary Madine
Former Sheffield Wednesday striker Gary Madine

The 28-year-old spent over four years at Sheffield Wednesday, hitting 28 goals in 113 appearances.

But Madine, who left the Owls in the summer of July 2015, is likely to be public enemy number one on Monday evening as he heads back to his old stomping ground with Wednesday's arch rivals United. Madine joined the Blades on a season long-loan last January.

Former Sheffield Wednesday striker Gary Madine

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When asked what sort of reception he expects Madine to get in the Sheffield derby, Owls defender Tom Lees said: "It will be interesting!

"He has obviously got his reasons for going there and fair play to him. It takes a lot of character to go and do that.

"I'm sure he will expect to get a bit of stick for it on Monday."

The pair briefly played together during the 2014/15 season.

Owls captain Tom Lees

"He's a handful," conceded Lees. "He's a good, physical presence and a danger in the air. He likes to hold the ball up well and it is never easy against him.

"He is a threat."

It finished all square in the last meeting between the two teams. United dominated for long spells but failed to break down a well-organised, disciplined Wednesday defence.

Lees acknowledged: "If you look at the game at the start of the season at their place, it was very one-sided and they had all the ball. I don't think we really got out of our own half.

"I think it will be different this time around. Hopefully we can put them under a bit of pressure that they have been putting us on with the way they play with their energy and pressing.

"We will be looking to do that to them this time so hopefully it will be a different affair."

Having played in two of the last three derbies, Lees is well aware of the magnitude of the fixture.

He said: "These two fixtures home and away are the biggest games of the season. There is no doubting that.

"It is a big occasion. The build up is intense and you can obviously tell there is an extra edge to the whole week building up to it. It's a really big game for both sides now.

"Obviously, Sheffield United are wanting to stay at the top of the table trying to secure promotion. Even if they weren't, it would still be a huge game.

"We obviously have come into a bit of form. We have all got points to prove so there is stuff to play for both sides."

The Owls captain is refusing to get carried away, despite the club's seven-match unbeaten run.

"We are not the finished article by a long way," said Lees. "We have got lots to do and the manager has said that but we are doing what we can at the moment.

"We have taken on board what he wants and I think so far we have been put in some good performances and hopefully shown signs of improvement."

Meanwhile, Wednesday’s Under-23s, featuring Ash Baker and Sam Winnall, slumped to a 4-1 defeat at Charlton today. Warren Clarke netted for the Owls.