HEAD COACH Carlos Carvalhal hopes Callum McManaman can grasp his “second life” at Sheffield Wednesday with his loan move to Hillsborough.
The winger has been frozen out at West Brom and trained with the Owls yesterday ahead of his January 1 loan move when the transfer window reopens.
The 25-year-old excelled at Wigan – he was man of the match in their 2013 FA Cup final – and persuaded the Baggies to splash out £4.75m for his services.
But he has been banished to their Under-23 team this season, and jumped at the chance to join Wednesday.
McManaman’s arrival follows a similar recruitment strategy by Carvalhal, who identifies top-flight players who have been left on the sidelines.
The likes of Barry Bannan, Fernando Forestieri, Daniel Pudil and Gary Hooper have all seen their careers flourish at Hillsborough, and Carvalhal is hoping McManaman can follow in their footsteps.
“He has trained for the first time, he’s made a good impression,” said Carvalhal. “We think we can help him and he can help us also, the team.
“He is fit, he is training and at West Brom he played 10 games with the Under-23s so it is a player who is available to play.
“If Callum did at West Brom what he did at Wigan, he would not be at Sheffield Wednesday.
“These kinds of players can achieve and we give, not just him but some players we have here, a second life.
“They are almost dead in the clubs and we bring them here because we know that they are really good players. We try to create conditions for them to grow up.
“Not just Barry Bannan, Fernando was the same, Daniel was the same, also Gary Hooper was also not playing at Norwich often.
“We want them to show to everybody that probably in the last months or one or two years that the coach was wrong about them and this is a challenge to them.”
Wednesday are keen to bolster their squad for the second half of the Championship campaign, and have already started recruitment.
McManaman will be eligible to play in Monday’s sell-out game with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Hillsborough.
Carvalhal is also keen on a left-back, as competition for Daniel Pudil, and the Owls have been linked with Charlton Athletic defender Morgan Fox.
Not that the Owls boss would divulge any of his January targets yesterday.
“I don’t need anything, I am happy with my team, my players,” he said.
“If we can achieve one or another player like we did with Callum, of course we are in the market and active, but it is not easy. We are not trying to find anything because we are happy with our squad.
“I will not confirm if we are interested in one or another player because if I do this I will answer 3,000 questions in January because there are a lot of games, sometimes with agents, sometimes with the clubs to try and promote players, so I don’t play these games.”
If selected, McManaman, first game in a Wednesday shirt will be in front of a packed Hillsborough, with tickets for all home areas sold out.
An extra allocation against Wolves for the West Stand lower were snapped up yesterday as fans took advantage of cut-priced tickets.
It will be Wednesday’s biggest crowd of the season, eclipsing the 30,060 attendance for the August visit of Aston Villa.
Tomorrow, the Owls travel to Preston North End with striker Forestieri hoping to avoid an unwanted hat-trick.
The Argentinian has been sent off on the last two occasions he has faced Preston. He was red-carded at Deepdale last season then again four weeks ago at Hillsborough and has only just completed a three-game ban.
Carvalhal revealed he has spoken to Forestieri and his team-mates about keeping their cool during games.
“They were two different situations,” said Carvalhal.
“We talk with Fernando and all the players, not specific to the Preston game but all the games; we must be focused in what we can control.”