EX-Sheffield Wednesday great Chris Waddle hopes the club resist the temptation to cash in on star striker Gary Madine in the January transfer window.
The vultures are circling around Hillsborough following Madine’s goal-scoring exploits this term. The Gateshead-born forward has plundered 11 goals in 17 starts, prompting a plethora of scouts from bigger clubs to flock
to the League One outfit to check on the 21-year-old.
Madine is expected to spearhead the attack at Morecambe on Sunday, having served his two-match suspension following his dismissal at Carlisle.
ESPN commentator Waddle, speaking ahead of the broadcaster’s TV coverage of the FA Cup first-round tie at the Globe Arena, told The Star the Owls should consider offloading Madine in the New Year only if they get an “unbelievable offer”.
“Gary is in the right league to learn his trade,” he said. “People forget he is only 21.
“He has a lot to learn and people will be looking at him because he has scored a lot of goals. Everyone is looking for the next player to go up the ladder.
“If he keeps progressing, Wednesday will find it hard to keep hold of him. Hopefully nothing will happen with Gary until the summer. That would give the manager (Gary Megson) a chance to get in a replacement. He could build a new team with the money they get in for him and bring in three to four players.
“I would have thought it would be a no-brainer to hang on to Gary in January unless it was an unbelievable offer and you have to accept it.
Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.
“Gary is enjoying Wednesday. He has become a favourite with the fans because he is a goal-scorer and he works hard.
“Sometimes players move on to different adventures but it is no good to them sitting in the stands or playing in the reserves. They need football because that is how you learn and get better.”
Ex-England international Waddle recalls watching a young Madine during a brief loan spell at Chesterfield.
“I saw him in a couple of games for them and I thought he was miles off it,” he said. “Gary found it very hard but he went back to Carlisle and started scoring goals.
“His hold-up play is much better now and his finishing is improving. He is not the finished article yet but he will only get stronger.”
Waddle has warned Wednesday not to under-estimate Morecambe.
“They are a big, organised side and have got a good team spirit,” he said. “They are not the best at home but they are quite attack-minded and play with a lot of a tempo and energy.
“This is their cup final. They will be really pumped up for it.”
ESPN will broadcast live and exclusive coverage of Sheffield Wednesday’s FA Cup Round One clash against Morecambe Town on Sunday from 2.30pm.
Teams and ref
MORECAMBE (possible): Roche; Haining, Fenton, McCready, Parrish; Drummond, Hunter, McDonald; Price or Alessandra, Ellison, Carlton. (4-3-3)
OWLS (possible): Bywater, Buxton, Jones, Batth, Reynolds or R Johnson; O’Connor, Lines, Semedo, J Johnson; Madine, O’Grady or Lowe (4-4-2).
David Webb (Lancashire): Has dished out 47 yellow cards and three reds in 15 games The last time he officiated a Wednesday match was the 3-1 Carling Cup second-round defeat at Blackburn in August.
It is the first competitive meeting between the two teams. Morecambe, fifth in League Two after just three defeats in 17 outings, moved into their new-purpose built stadium in August 2010. The capacity of the Globe Arena is just over 6,800.
One to watch
Danny Carlton is in fine form. The Leeds-born player has hit seven goals in 17 appearances, including a hat-trick in the 6-0 victory over promotion rivals Crawley in September.