Wednesday loan flop has a point to prove in Orient showdown

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JIMMY Smith will be relishing tomorrow's match at Brisbane Road more than most players.

It is a chance for him to show the Owls what he can do after he failed to make an impact at Hillsborough.

The midfield player was signed by Brian Laws in August, 2008, on a five-month loan from Chelsea, and arrived at the same time as James O'Connor.

But Smith missed three weeks of pre-season owing to injury, and was then kept out of the side by the form of O'Connor and Sean McAllister.

When he returned to Stamford Bridge in January, 2009, he had made only four starts and nine appearances as a sub for the Owls and seen his Hillsborough stint finished off by controversy..

He was sent off at Birmingham in late October for a challenge on defender Stuart Parnaby, and the Owls appealed. But the FA ruled that it was a groundless appeal and added an extra game to his three-match suspension.

Laws was very angry and said the club would not have wasted the 750 cost of an appeal if they had not believed it would succeed.

The ban was a hammer blow for Smith, who was "shocked" at the appeal decision. He had also just started two successive games and had been hoping for a run in the side. But when he was available again, he was never anything more than a sub.

Since then, life has looked up for the 24-year-old, for he is well established in the Leyton Orient set-up. He joined them on a three-month loan after leaving Hillsborough, and completed a free transfer to the Os in the summer of that year.

He has made 74 starts and 12 appearances as a sub for Orient and played in last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Rochdale, as did former Sheffield United midfield man Matthew Spring.

Smith did not get a chance to show what he can do when Orient visited Hillsborough in October - he was a sub.

Wednesday beat Russell Slade's side 1-0 with a goal from Lewis Buxton in an undistinguished game. Now Buxton has just returned to full training after playing in only one of the last nine matches because of hamstring trouble.

Orient are 18th, two points off the relegation places.

That may seem strange considering that have lost only once in their last 12 games. Only three of the dozen brought League One wins. The rest were draws or cup ties.

This month, Orient have lost 5-0 at Brighton, won 4-2 at home against Colchester, pulled off a 1-0 FA Cup third round shock at Norwich, 1-0, then earned last Saturday's draw at Rochdale.

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