New dad Chris Maguire will be eager, for several reasons, to prove a point at Derby County tomorrow.
Maguire, who recently celebrated the birth of his second child, is expected to be restored to Sheffield Wednesday’s starting line-up when they take on the high-flying Rams, having served a two-match suspension.
After a nearly fortnight out of action due to collecting 10 bookings, Maguire is desperate, according to Wednesday head coach Stuart Gray, to make up for lost time and to fire the club back up the Championship table.
“Chris had a couple of days off where he managed to get up to Scotland and attend the birth of his second child so we congratulate him on that,” Gray told The Star. “It’s been frustrating for him having to sit-out the last two games but we’ve got Chris back now and he’s got to work his way back into the team.”
Should he be selected, Maguire will need little motivation to be put in a big performance. He spent one unhappy season at Derby. During the 2011/12 season, Maguire struggled to force his way into Nigel Clough’s plans, making just eight first-team appearances, scoring two goals. He felt he was not given an opportunity to prove his worth by Clough
Having fallen out of favour under Clough, Maguire joined Gray’s Portsmouth side on loan for the second half of that campaign, hitting three goals in 11 outings.
Gray said: “Any player who goes back to their old club will want to play well and make a good impression.
“I don’t know what the reasons were for it not working out for Chris at Derby. When I was at Portsmouth, we managed to get him on loan from Derby. I think they paid some decent money for Chris but he didn’t figure in Nigel’s plans.
“Now Chris is more interested in doing well for Sheffield Wednesday. He’s going back to a club he knows well in Derby. He will want to show Derby what they are missing. It’s an opportunity for him to show what he can do if selected.”
While Maguire will be keen to perform well on his Derby return, Gray is urging him to stay focused.
He said: “The last thing I want Chris to do is go to Derby and try too hard. Sometimes players can go back to their former clubs and be too hyperactive instead of being relaxed and composed.”
With 15 matches remaining, Gray has challenged Maguire to add to his five goals. Two of his last three strikes have come from the penalty spot.
“Chris scored 10 goals towards the end of last season; he won’t shirk responsibility,” admitted Gray. “When he gets an opportunity to shoot, he will take it.
“Chris will probably be disappointed he’s not got more goals but we do know, as he showed last season, that he can go on a little run whether he gets them from the penalty spot or open play.”
Speaking at his press briefing yesterday, Gray confirmed Jose Semedo is “touch and go” to face Derby. The midfielder has yet to train this week, having been forced off in the first half of Saturday’s goalless draw at home to Brighton and Hove Albion because of an ankle injury/toe infection. Sam Hutchinson and Filipe Melo are on stand-by should Semedo miss-out.
“Jose is touch and go,” said Gray, who reiterated that skipper Glenn Loovens will require ankle surgery, a knock which will keep him sidelined for six to eight weeks. “He’s wearing a boot which is taking the pressure off his ankle. We can’t seem to get the swelling down. He’s on a course of antiobiotics so he will be touch and go for Saturday.
“It’s disappointing for Jose because he is a big loss for us. You know he’s got a problem when he can’t carry on until half-time.”
It is unlikely Wednesday will bring in a new face on loan before the trip to Derby, although Gray is still looking to sign a wide player.
“It is difficult to get players in because of injuries and suspensions at other clubs,” he stressed. “Hopefully we will have some business done before Millwall on Tuesday.”