Sheffield Wednesday: Improving Floro strikes as Lavery returns

Franck Betra goes off injured against Middlesborough U21's. Picture: Andrew Roe
Franck Betra goes off injured against Middlesborough U21's. Picture: Andrew Roe

Sheffield Wednesday coach Lee Bullen wants defender Rafa Floro to follow in the footsteps of Cameron Dawson and go out on loan to enhance his football education.

Floro, who has made only two senior appearances since moving to Hillsborough, struck a last-gasp winner in yesterday’s development match against Middlesbrough.

The Portuguese left back lashed a stunning shot past Boro shot-stopper Luke Coddington after a lovely move involving Rhys McCabe and substitute Ryan Croasdale.

Floro impressed in the friendly as did Dawson, who was recalled from his loan spell at non league side Alfreton Town yesterday. Dawson produced two superb saves to deny Jordon Jones and Ryan Brobbel in the first half.

Former Wednesday captain Bullen told The Star: “It was a great goal by Rafa that was fit to win any football match.

“It was a fabulous move and some of the stuff we played, especially in the second half, was excellent.

“Rafa has stepped up two or three notches from last season. I think he found it tough going with regards to the language barrier, different style of play in England and weather.

“But he has comeback a different player this year and really kicked on. He’s still got bits and pieces he needs to still work on defensively as that’s what he gets paid to do.

“I think it’s now time to get Rafa out on loan. It showed from Cameron’s performance that it can only benefit a player.

“I thought Cameron was fantastic and looked really assured in his decision making, kicking and handling.”

Wednesday fielded a strong side versus Boro, featuring Caolan Lavery, Royston Drenthe and Claude Dielna. It was striker Lavery’s first outing since he suffered a knee injury in pre-season while Dutchman Drenthe, on loan from Reading until January, was given a run-out, having not played for a fortnight since his sending off versus high-flying Bournemouth.

Bullen said: “Royston asked to play the full 90 minutes and showed a great attitude.

“We’ve got to have half an eye on the weekend because there is every chance Stuart Gray may decide to throw him into the Huddersfield derby because he can be so effective.”

Colorado Rapids player Shane O’Neill, who is training with Wednesday, delivered a polished display alongside Dielna at the heart of the hosts rearguard.

“Shane came through it well,” said Bullen. “He cruised through the game without doing anything flashy and, for me, that’s what a good defender does.

“He won his headers and tackles and played it simple. Shane is here for 10 days. He’s trained for a couple of days and played a game. We will see what happens.”

Young striker Franck Betra was forced off early on after suffering a leg injury. He will be assessed again by the medical staff today but Bullen hopes the problem will not keep him out of action for long.

Wednesday piled on the pressure in the final quarter of an hour, with Simon Hanna and substitute Ryan Meadows thwarted before Floro’s late strike.

*Owls: Dawson; Young, O’Neill, Dielna, Floro; Hanna, McCabe, Corry, Drenthe (Meadows 72) Betra (Dieseruvwe 23), Lavery (Croasdale 70).