Sheffield Wednesday: Defender closes in on Owls return

Owls' Joe Mattock
Owls' Joe Mattock

Left-back Joe Mattock has handed Sheffield Wednesday a major fitness boost ahead of Saturday’s trip to promotion hopefuls Blackburn Rovers.

The 24-year-old has missed the Owls’ last four matches with an ankle injury sustained in the draw at Charlton Athletic on November 1.

Joe Mattock is back in full training.

Joe Mattock is back in full training.

Mattock was taken off on a stretcher at The Valley and Wednesday head coach Stuart Gray feared he would be out of action for six weeks after scan results confirmed the former West Bromwich Albion player suffered ankle ligament damaged.

But Mattock has made a speedy recovery and came through a full training session unscathed at Middlewood Road yesterday and is contention to be included in the match-day squad for the clash at Ewood Park.

Gray told The Star: “Joe’s ahead of schedule and will be available for selection for Saturday. He has been excellent for us this season.

In Mattock’s absence, Jeremy Helan has deputised in the full-back position, delivering a string of impressive displays in the Owls’ three-match unbeaten run.

“We lost Joe but Jeremy has come in at left-back and done well,” admitted Gray, who will have to make one enforced change to his midfield with Jose Semedo set to serve a one-match ban for picking up five bookings. “It gives me a nice selection dilemma having Joe back.

“Jeremy’s got the shirt and it’s up to him to keep it. It’s all about competition for places and Joe will be wanting to get back into the team.

“It is better for the squad in general the more players I’ve got to choose from.”