Owls old pals’ act

Owls.......Glenn Whelan
Owls.......Glenn Whelan
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Megson and family friend pupils meet up as former Hillsborough stars return

SHEFFIELD Wednesday’s friendly against Stoke at Hillsborough today brings a reunion for more than just ex-Owls stars Glenn Whelan and Kenwyne Jones.

Managers Gary Megson and Tony Pulis are old pals - and not only because they worked together at the Britannia Stadium.

Pulis has been a friend of the Megson family for almost 40 years.

Gary’s dad, Wednesday legend Don Megson, was manager of Bristol Rovers in the Seventies when the young Pulis played for them.

Pulis is on record as saying: “Don gave me my Football League debut and I remember Gary being around as a young kid then. I had great admiration for Don and I’ve always taken notice of Gary’s career as a player and as a manager.”

The Stoke boss gave Gary a job as coach for three months in 2007 when he was in between managerial jobs at Forest and Leicester.

It had been expected that former Owls players Whelan and Jones would not play today as they figured in City’s Europa League opener against Hajduk Split on Thursday. Pulis, however, has said that most of those who started the 1-0 win against the Croatian outfit will play for the first 45 minutes at Hillsborough.

The Stoke line-up was: Begovic; Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Pennant (Whitehead 75), Whelan, Delap, Etherington (Shotton 88); Walters, Jones. Unused subs: Sorensen, Collins, Pugh, Diao, Woodgate.

Pulis’s men kick off their Premier League campaign at home to Chelsea a fortnight tomorrow.

Even if he does not field a full-strength side for the whole of today’s game, Stoke have a squad who are established in the top-flight and should provide a tough test.

Stoke beat Hajduk with a goal from Jones’s strike partner, Jon Walters, and play the second leg of the third qualifying round tie next Thursday.

Midfield player Rory Delap says: “The main thing is that we got a clean sheet, which is vital in European competition.”