Tuesday 20 March 2018

McGeady takes Wednesday option to preserve Euros spot

McGeady made his last appeared for Everton in August. Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
McGeady made his last appeared for Everton in August. Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Aiden McGeady has signed for Sheffield Wednesday on loan with a view to securing regular football and his place in Ireland's Euro 2016 squad.

However, Darron Gibson's situation is unclear after deadline day passed without any change in his position.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez had previously said that he expected both players to leave on a temporary basis to help their international prospects and there was no surprise when McGeady - who last appeared for his club in August - joined the ambitious Championship club for the rest of this campaign.

Wednesday's finances are in good shape at the moment after a takeover by a Thai company last year and they sit seventh in the table with ambitions of securing promotion this term.

McGeady has trained with his new team-mates and will be looking to hit the ground running after a switch that will please Martin O'Neill.

Wednesday had looked to bring another Irish option, Alan Judge, from Brentford earlier this month as he prepares to make his debut for his country in March and put his name in the mix for the Euros.

O'Neill has a lot of faith in Glasgow-born McGeady and his only concern about the 29-year-old was related to the impact of a long spell of inactivity on his physical condition. He will not be fussed about the winger dropping down a grade once it allows him to get a run of games under his belt ahead of the summer.

McGeady started Ireland's campaign as one of the first names on the team-sheet and O'Neill has attributed his opening brace in Georgia to the excellent shape he was in at that point in time.

A series of injury issues and his plummet down the pecking order at Everton meant that he was only peripheral at the business end of the successful mission to make France, with sub cameos in Poland and Bosnia the sum total of his contribution.

Still, the fact that O'Neill pitched him in for those encounters - particularly at a crunch point in Warsaw - demonstrated that the player always had reason to be confident about making the finals squad.

Gibson has no such security given that he was unavailable for large parts of the campaign and is now down the list of central midfielders.

Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy and Jeff Hendrick are the preferred options, while David Meyler is a versatile go-to guy from the bench. Harry Arter's emergence has added depth to the department and Stephen Quinn played a big part in the first half of the qualifying group. Gibson's solitary start came in the defeat to Scotland.

The Derry native could still depart Everton for a Championship outfit between now and March when the window for emergency loans opens up. He did come off the bench in the weekend FA Cup win at Carlisle.

O'Neill's immediate Euros concern is the medial ligament injury sustained by Marc Wilson in Stoke colours on Saturday.

Potters boss Mark Hughes confirmed yesterday that a 10-12 week lay-off remains the prognosis which would leave the defender working off a tight deadline to return to full fitness.

Permanent Irish moves were not a feature of transfer deadline day despite an attempt from Swindon to follow through on their interest in St Patrick's Athletic defender Sean Hoare.

Former Dundalk striker Pat Hoban has relocated to Stevenage on loan from Oxford United although it was a strange day in his new surroundings as Teddy Sheringham was sacked following a run of poor results that has left them 19th in League Two.

Oxford are currently seven points off the top in third.

Elsewhere, Dubliner Gary Dicker left Carlisle to join SPL side Kilmarnock.

Irish Independent

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