Red Bull and Southampton link could see Sheffield Wednesday turn to ex-Premier League man

Sheffield Wednesday remain in the hunt for a new goalkeeper coach, and given the pattern in appointments so far it may be that they go after a former Premier League man.
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Danny Röhl has had an immediate impact at Hillsborough, and has already brought in three new members of staff as the new Owls boss looks to try and get some much-needed positive results for the club.

Two of those new arrivals, Sascha Lense and Henrik Pedersen, are long-time acquaintances of the German after they all came through the Red Bull system at the same time, while another, Nico Knaubel, who was due to join before visa issues led to it falling through, was in the same boat.

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Lense was the first to join, coming on board as the club’s new performance manager, while Pedersen has been given the title of assistant head coach. Chris Powell, the new assistant coach, is the only one who has been brought in that doesn’t have a prior relationship with Röhl.

One position still vacant, however, is that of goalkeeper coach following the departure of Antonello Brambilla when Xisco left, with Head of Academy Goalkeeping, Nicky Weaver, currently overseeing first team matters with the likes of Cameron Dawson and Devis Vasquez.

One person who could potentially fit the bill in Röhl’s hunt for someone to guide his ‘keepers is Reading assistant manager, Andrew Sparkes, who would tick a couple of boxes for Wednesday’s new man in charge.

The 38-year-old spent the best part of a decade working within the Red Bull philosophy at both RB Salzburg and the New York Red Bulls, and also happened to team up – briefly – with Röhl at Southampton during Ralph Hasenhüttl. Sparkes then stuck around under both Ruben Selles and Nathan Jones before departing to join Selles as his number two with the Royals.

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During his career so far he has worked with a number of international goalkeepers in his career so far including Fraser Forster, Willy Caballero, Angus Gunn and Gavin Bazunu, so has a track record alongside talented shot-stoppers.

With time spent at Swansea City’s academy as well, the Welshman would tick a few boxes if Wednesday were to make a move – his Red Bull upbringing, a prior relationship with Röhl, a knowledge of the game in the United Kingdom, and experience working with young players as well.

Röhl suggested in his press conference on Thursday that they were close to finalising another new appointment, but that negotiations with his club remained ongoing.

The Owls are back in action on Saturday when they play host to Millwall in an attempt to build on their victory in the last game at S6 against Rotherham United.