STEPHEN Bywater will bid to end his Wednesday stay on a high after keeping two successive clean sheets.
But the loan keeper who makes a final appearance against Huddersfield tomorrow will get a fond farewell from Gary Megson for his attitutude off the pitch as well as his performances on it.
The Derby player has shown his dedication and attention to fitness by undergoing early-morning yoga sessions.
His bubbly personality in squad training and on match days has made him popular with staff and teammates.
Megson hopes that Bywater will be back in January - but the keeper is thanked by the manager for all that he has done so far.
“He’s been fantastic,” says Megson. “I’ve been really pleased with him, and not just for what he has done in games.
“He’s effervescent, he’s really enthusiastic. He’s in at the ground at seven o’clock in the morning to do his yoga.
“He’s a great personality. On and off the pitch, since he’s been here, he’s been terrific.”
Bywater, whose three-month loan ends after tomorrow’s game, helped the team to keep clean sheets in his last two games, the 1-0 and 2-0 wins against Leyton Orient and Oldham. Megson says he has not yet decided who will take over after tomorrow but he pointed out that he has three reliable keepers in Nicky Weaver, Arron Jameson and Richard O’Donnell - who played well in the 1-0 FA Cup win against Aldershot and helped to make it three clean sheets in a row for the team.
Plans to give Weaver the first action of his comeback in a private game were delayed by the weather.
“Nicky is an experienced goalkeeper,” said Megson. “Unfortunately, since he got himself fit we haven’t been able to organise a behind-closed-doors game. We‘ll try to do that next week.
“We have three goalkeepers who I would have every confidence in playing.”
The main selection issues tomorrow centre on midfield and up front, for the Owls’ best spell at Oldham came after the half-time withdrawal of Ben Marshall, who had missed training owing to illness.
Marshall, previously a key man, must
surely start, presumably in his usual spot on the left wing, where Sanchez Watt played well for the second half after starting his debut up front in place of Ryan Lowe, who shone as a second-half sub.
“Ben seems fine, back to his bubbly self, and in training he’s been terrific,” said Megson. “Ryan’s best performances have been when he’s come off the bench at Tranmere and Oldham. Sanchez did well for us in two different positions; we have players who can give us different qualities.
“People are aware of what Clinton [Morrison] can do. He’s chomping at the bit. All three are vying for places up front. “Chris O’Grady I’m delighted with. I would hope he gets luckier in front of goal, but he’s playing terrific.
“I could pick anyone out of our squad and know I was going to get an honest, hard-working display.”
One to watch
Jordan Rhodes, 21-year-old striker son of Owls goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes, has scored 15 goals in 19 appearances for Huddersfield this season plus six for Scotland Under-21s, for whom he plays alongside Liam Palmer.
Wednesday failed to score against Huddersfield last season. It was 2-0 to the Terriers at Hillsborough in November, 2010, and 1-0 at the Galpharm Stadium in January. Anthony Pilkington, now at Norwich, netted in both games.
Teams and ref
OWLS (possible): Bywater; Tavernier, Batth, Jones, R Johnson; Prutton, Lines, Semedo, Marshall; O’Grady, Watt or Lowe (4-4-2).
TERRIERS (possible): Bennett; Hunt, Bruce, Clarke, Woods; Arfield, Robinson, Miller, Ward; Parkin, Rhodes. (4-4-2).
DArren DeadmaN (Cheshunt): Was in charge of Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Charlton in September. Has sent off eight players and issued 98 yellow cards in 24 games this season.