New signings Mark Reynolds and Gary Madine arrived at Hillsborough yesterday with high hopes of taking Sheffield Wednesday back to the Championship. Ian Appleyard reports.
SHEFFIELD Wednesday's latest signings Mark Reynolds and Gary Madine say the size and ambition of the League One club were key factors in their decisions to move to Hillsborough.
Defender Reynolds has quit Scottish Premier League club Motherwell to join the Owls and striker Madine has turned his back on League One rivals Carlisle United in a double swoop worth around 400,000.
Both men are likely to make their debuts in next weekend's game at Leyton Orient and their arrivals take the club's tally of new signings this month to four following the capture of Leicester City defender Michael Morrison and Plymouth Argyle defender Reda Johnson.
New owner Milan Mandaric has already stated that the club intend to sign six new players this month and manager Alan Irvine is now believed to be targeting midfielders.
Reynolds said: "This is a great time to come to a club of this size and ambition. It's certainly a team that is going places and is looking to push up the leagues. I know it has had great days in the past but hopefully we can bring great days in the future.
"When a club this size comes calling, it's hard to resist. They have great ambition which matches my own. The squad has been strengthened and I think they are still looking to bring more players. Looking at the table, we just need a couple of wins and we are right back in the promotion pack.
"This is a fresh challenge and hopefully I can rise to the occasion and progress with the team," he added.
"I want to give 100 per cent, I want to get in the team, get playing and secure a place in the starting XI. I am aware that the manager has been pursuing me for a couple of years so it's nice to know you are rated highly. It's a good standard in Scotland but League One is probably on a par, if not better, than some teams in the Scottish Premier League."
Capped at Scottish under-21 level, Reynolds, 23, has signed a three-and-a-half year deal and believes his move to Hillsborough will help fulfil his dream of playing in European and World Cup qualifying campaigns for his country.
"Coming to a club of this size and playing in England can only push my international ambitions," he said.
"It will raise my profile because English football is such a big market and such a huge showcase. If I do well at this club, I am sure people will sit up and take notice."
Madine, 20, has signed a four-and-a-half year deal with the Owls after coming through the ranks in his native north east with Carlisle and bagging 13 goals so far this season.
His arrival now gives Irvine a choice of four strikers again after the loss of Marcus Tudgay to Nottingham Forest and Madine has worked previously with striker Clinton Morrison during a loan spell at Coventry City last season.
"Competition is healthy, keeps you on your toes, and makes you work harder," said Madine. "I played with Clinton for three months and I learned a lot. He lets you know what you need to work on which is always a help."
Stressing the main difference between the Owls and his former club Carlisle, Madine said: "This is a massive club with massive potential. I played here for Carlisle at the start of the season and the crowd was fantastcic. It was a great atmosphere. As a player with ambition, I would prefer to play in front of 20,000 fans than 5,000 fans at Carlisle.
"Everyone knows this club belongs higher up the league," he added. "Hopefully, I will get goals for the team and we will get promotion."
Although Irvine has stressed that players will not leave Hillsborough to fund the current squad strengthening, question marks will inevitably surround the future of defender Richard Hinds, who has not started a league game this season, and striker Paul Heffernan who has only started one league game since his summer arrival from Doncaster Rovers.