GARY Megson is looking to experience as well as youth to shore up his Sheffield Wednesday side.
He has already expressed his admiration for debut-making teenager Liam Palmer and praised comeback defenders Tommy Spurr and Mark Beevers and young striker Gary Madine.
But his high rating of latest captain Tommy Miller and an attempt to sign West Ham pair Benni McCarthy and Herita Ilunga on loan demonstrate the value he places on seasoned knowhow.
Miller is 32, McCarthy 33, and Ilunga will be 29 tomorrow.
The Owls manager sprang a surprise at Bournemouth on Tuesday by recalling Miller and making him skipper after his seven-match absence with a hamstring injury; another experienced man, Clinton Morrison, had briefly been awarded the armband.
Megson says: “Tommy worked his socks off. He knows the game, he’s an honest lad and has a lot of personality; that’s why I made him captain. It’s a big plus to have him back. He talks; he has a great desire to do well.
“I didn’t have that choice while he was injured and Clinton was made captain.
“We have a few people who can do the job. I don’t want to be saying someone is captain, full stop. We want to be able to give it to different people, as and when.”
The Owls’ attempt to land striker McCarthy and left back Ilunga from Milan Mandaric’s old club is a surprise after Megson hinted recently that a centre half was the priority.
The pair would have to be persuaded to drop down two divisions, and there is a claim from London that McCarthy earns £50,000 a week and that the Owls are willing to pay only £5,000 of that, so the Hammers would have to subside the rest.
It is believed that the signing of Isaiah Osbourne was made possible by Villa’s readiness to pay a chunk of his salary.
McCarthy cost Blackburn £2.5m when he was signed from Porto in 2006, after big-money moves from Ajax to Celta Vigo (£4.5m) and from the Spanish outfit to Porto (£2.6m). West Ham signed him just over a year ago on a contract that runs until 2012.
Although he set a South Africa record with more than 30 goals for his country, and hit more than 50 in three and a half years with Blackburn, he has made only 14 appearances for the Hammers.
Ilunga has seen his Upton Park career stutter after Wayne Bridge was signed on loan from Manchester City for the rest of the season.
Megson confirmed his interest in the pair after the stalemate with Bournemouth: “We are trying to get both players in and the two clubs have been in dialogue for a few days. We are obviously facing a battle to convince them to drop down two divisions but we are asking the questions.”