Caolan Lavery’s return to action is like having a new signing, according to Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Paul Corry.
Northern Ireland Under-21 international Lavery, who has recently recovered from a serious knee injury, bagged a second-half double in the development squad’s 4-1 friendly win over Chesterfield yesterday. Mani Dieseruvwe also claimed a brace as the Owls brushed aside a strong looking Spireites side featuring Ritchie Humphreys, Ollie Banks and Armand Gnanduillet.
Lavery’s comeback provides a timely boost to a side who have registered just one goal in their last seven Championship outings. He was an unused substitute in Saturday’s draw at Huddersfield Town and Corry reckons the striker can add an extra dimension to Wednesday’s forward line.
“I’m delighted Caolan got his two goals,” he told The Star. “He gives us something different.
“He stretches teams by running in behind and causes defenders problems. He was maybe a bit rusty against Middlesbrough but you could see from his two goals he is slowly but surely getting there.
“Caolan is like a new signing for us. It will be the same when Sam Hutchinson comes out of the treatment room. It gives a little lift to everybody and gives the manager options. When there are more people available for selection, there is more competition for places and that pushes everyone along a bit.”
Lavery damaged a cruciate ligament in the Owls’ 2-2 pre-season friendly draw at Doncaster Rovers last July.
“I’m really good friends with Caolan; he got a good pre-season under his belt and it looked like he was ready to kick on and it was just unfortunate he got the injury,” said Corry, who was influential in the centre. “But these things happen in football and you just have to roll with the punches.
“Everybody was there for him. Caolan made himself fitter and stronger in his rehab. He’s kept his spirits up and thought about the good times that are ahead of him.”
Dieseruvwe, who is attracting the interest of several League Two clubs, turned in Rhys McCabe’s cross in the fifth minute following a neat back heel by Lavery.
Romuald Boco, a lively presence on the right hand side for Chesterfield, equalised, expertly lifting the ball over Cameron Dawson.
It was the Spireites who looked more threatening in the early stages of the second half but the Owls regained the lead in the 66nd minute, with Lavery heading in substitute Jack Stobb’s fine cross.
With 13 minutes left, Lavery calmly stroked in a penalty before Dieseruvwe nodded in a fourth after lovely move involving Corry and Stobbs.
“We played really well for 85% of the game,” said Corry. “There were a few times where we gave the ball away but that happens with young players.
“When we moved the ball quickly, we looked a good side.
“There were some really good moves. I thought Jack [Stobbs] came on and did really well. He gave Caolan and Manny some good service.”
Wednesday’s Under-21s entertain Huddersfield in their next competitive fixture a week on Monday.
*Wednesday: Dawson; Young, De Havilland (Beatson 11), Sanders, Floro; McCabe (Stobbs 61), Corry, Croasdale Meadows (Hanna HT); Lavery, Dieseruvwe. Substitutes: McDonagh.