Sheffield Wednesday: There’s more to come from Isgrove

Owls loanee Lloyd Isgrove takes on Millers player Danny Lafferty
Owls loanee Lloyd Isgrove takes on Millers player Danny Lafferty

You could have forgiven Lloyd Isgrove for freezing in the biggest match of his fledgling career.

After all, the speedy winger had trained just twice with his new Owls teammates before being thrown straight into the cauldron of a South Yorkshire derby.

However, Isgrove, recruited on loan from Southampton last Wednesday, acquitted himself reasonably well on debut against Rotherham United. It was a big ask to throw the 22-year-old, who is untried and unproven at this level, into that arena but Wednesday boss Stuart Gray felt his selection was a risk well worth taking.

Isgrove lasted 58 minutes of Saturday’s tussle, showing composure on the ball and a good turn of pace to suggest he could offer an extra dimension to the Owls’ forward line in their final seven Championship fixtures.

Gray told The Star: “It was a gamble to throw Lloyd into such a big game but I thought he did okay.

“There were a couple of times where he created his own space and we didn’t give him the ball so we have to learn to play more to Lloyd’s strengths.

“I think once we get Lloyd settled in the fans will be pleased because he’s a winger who likes to dribble and run at defenders.

“Lloyd has got a great spring on him, is a powerful, quick lad, who will create and score goals for us. This will be a great learning curve for him and he will get better.”

Gray has revealed the Owls beat off competition from five other Championship clubs to land Isgrove.

“We weren’t the only club after him,” he stressed. “There were five Championship clubs chasing Lloyd but it helped us with the relationship we have with Southampton.

“The good thing is he has decided to come to us and players can see what we’ve done with loan players.

“When you look at the likes of Ross Barkley, Connor Wickham and Lewis McGugan, we have given them all valuable minutes and those moves benefited everybody.”

Caolan Lavery replaced Isgrove in the second half and the former Northern Ireland Under-21 international kicked off the Owls’ revival by scoring their opener. It was his first goal in Wednesday colours for over a year and Gray was full of praise for the contribution his subs made in their stunning late fightback.

“All three who came on made an impact and helped us win,” he said.

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