Date:Monday April 3 2006
Wednesday fans are undecided on whether last season's top scorer Steve Maclean should regain his place in the first team according to the latest poll on Vital Sheffield Wednesday
We asked Vital Sheffield Wednesday users if they felt the Scot should return to the first team following his recent injury setback, despite the fine form of current strike duo Marcus Tudgay and Deon Burton.
It was a close call, with the 'yes' camp just nudging it with 53 per cent of the votes.
The 18 goals Maclean netted in just 34 games last season would have helped the former Rangers mans cause. He was arguably the main reason why the Owls got promotion to the Championship last season, and it was no coincidence that Wednesday's form dropped when Maclean suffered an injury and was forced to sit out the final few months of the season.
Despite his long lay-off, Maclean was included on the bench for the play-off final at Cardiff, and was the man to step off the bench at 2-1 down and converted a penalty in the final 10 minues to take the game to extra time. We all know what happened then...
The Wednesday faithful certainly haven't forgotten Maclean's goalscoring ability from last season, and were desperate to see him back in action earlier this year to help the Owls battle against relegation.
He's only featured five times for the Owls since his return though, netting just one late penalty against Sheffield United at Hillsborough. With such a long lay-off though, you can't expect a play to hit top form straight away.
In Maclean's absence, Marcus Tudgay and Deon Burton have struck up a fine partnership in attack for the Owls, and that is why the remaining 47 per cent think the Scot shouldn't get his place back in the side.
The strike duo, signed at the beginning of the year from Derby County and Rotherham United respectfully, have taken their time to settle in to Paul Sturrock's plans, but have notched up vital goals which has seen the Owls stretch their lead from the drop zone and go unbeaten for four games.
It was Tudgay and Burton's performance against Wolves last weekend which really drew the attention to their flourishing partnership. Burton's pin point cross for Tudgay to volley innto the top corner put the Owls ahead, while Burton added a clinical second before assisting his strike partner with his second of the afternoon to make it 3-1.
So it seems that the Wednesday faithful are still undecided on whether or not Maclean should return to the first eleven. After suffering another set back the Scot has had to make due with a place on the subs bench, and it's likely that will continue if Burton and Tudgay continue to hit it off on the pitch. Worrying times for last season's top scorer, then, but less than worrying times for Owls fans who have healthy competition for a place in attack for the first time in some years.
Date:Monday April 3 2006
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