Young Sheffield Wednesday midfielder praised after Sheffield derby
Delighted boss Neil Thompson praised attacking midfielder Conor Grant after Sheffield Wednesday Under-23s comfortable 2-0 victory over Sheffield United.
The Irishman, deployed in the number 10 position, bagged an assist and goal in the Owls' win at Bramall Lane last night.
Grant, who signed his maiden pro contract last December, expertly set up Rolando Aarons for Wednesday's first half opener before getting on the scoresheet himself just after the restart following a defensive error by Jake Wright.
Thompson told The Star: "Conor is a young boy. He is only 17. He is not 18 until July. He has done well for the 18s in the last two years.
"It is about nurturing him and making sure we will look after him physically as he has a bit to go development wise."
Republic of Ireland U17 international Grant moved to Hillsborough from Shamrock Rovers after a successful trial in the 2016/17 campaign. He has also previously represented Malahide United.
"Conor has got ability and he showed that against United," said Thompson.
"His goal typified what he is about. He did not panic and was really cool with his finish."
A strong Owls line-up, featuring Joe Wildsmith, Ash Baker, Dominic Iorfa, Daniel Pudil, Achraf Lazaar, Aarons and Sam Winnall, proved too strong for United as Thompson's men recorded back-to-back victories in the Professional Development League 2.
Thompson said: "It was a good performance. I thought it was a bit frantic in the opening 15 to 20 minutes.
"I thought we gradually gained control of the game and we managed the game well in the second half.
"We could have won by more but they had one or two chances from set pieces.
"There were a lot of good performances. A lot of the senior boys got much-needed minutes and the young boys did well too so it was a pleasing night."
He hailed the senior pros contribution in the derby triumph, saying: "They showed a fabulous attitude. They helped the young boys; there is no question about that. They gave us a bit of strength.
"I can't fault any of them. They put the work in and gave that bit of of quality as well."
The only disappointment for Wednesday was that winger Jack Stobbs limped off in the fifth minute with an ankle injury.
"He went over on his ankle so we will have to see how that is in the next day or two," confirmed Thompson.
"It was really unfortunate but it gave Fraser (Preston) a chance to go on and get 85 minutes, which I don't think he was expecting on the bench!
"We will get Jack sorted and hopefully get him back up and running pretty quickly."
The Owls U23s return to action at home to Birmingham City on Monday.
Thompson said: "It is good to have won a couple of games in a row and kept two clean sheets.
"It makes a difference keeping clean sheets. It gives the lads confidence.
"We have chucked a lot of games by being a bit naive defensively. We have been sloppy at times. It helps Joe (Wildsmith) is there and he is experienced."