SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: How Owls bring out Best in loan players

On the move: Leon Best has changed hands for �3m-plus
On the move: Leon Best has changed hands for �3m-plus
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LEON Best’s £3-million-plus move from Newcastle to Blackburn adds further fuel to the theory that a loan spell at Hillsborough can help a player to get on in life.

Best had not scored a league goal and was relatively unknown when the Owls borrowed him from Southampton.

He was a Hillsborough hit and went on to carve out a decent career at Coventry and in the Premier League with Newcastle.

Now he is among the Owls’ Championship rivals and will add extra spice when Wednesday face Blackburn at Ewood Park on October 24 and Hillsborough on April 6.

Others who have gone on to higher things after a spell with Wednesday during the last 10 years include Kenwyne Jones, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Chris Eagles, Scott Carson, Joey O’Brien. Tony McMahon and Luke Varney, who played for the Owls in the Championship but rose to the Premier League with Blackpool.

Some of the Owls’ loan signings have been well-known players who simply did a sound job - for example, Neil Mellor, Mark Crossley and Graham Kavanagh.

Not all the club’s loan signings have been big successes.

But the list of those who were has grown after the exploits last season of Danny Batth, Nile Ranger, Keith Treacy and Michail Antonio, and Stephen Bywater and Miguel Llera did well enough to earn full contracts.

The Owls have yet to make any loan signings to fit into Championship football, but that could well change at some point.

Batth has opted to try to make his mark at Wolves and will hope to join the list of players who have made it elsewhere after gaining valuable experience at Hillsborough.

In wanting to fully sign Ranger, Treacy and Antonio, boss Dave Jones will see them as men who can grow with the Owls.