SHEFFIELD Wednesday manager Gary Megson has told promotion rivals Milton Keynes Dons that they will have to pay ‘double the money’ to keep striker Clinton Morrison.
The former Republic of Ireland international has grabbed three goals in four starts for the Dons during a one-month loan deal which is due to expire this weekend.
The Dons want to extend the existing deal but Owls manager Megson is no longer willing to subsidise the wages of a player helping a rival club stay in the promotion race.
“I have spoken to (Owls’ chief executive) Paul Aldridge and, unless Milton Keynes Dons or indeed anyone else comes up with a deal that suits financially, Clinton will be coming back,” he said.
“Whether people like it or not doesn’t matter to me but Sheffield Wednesday are not going to pay 50 per cent of someone’s wages to do something for a club in the same area of the same division.”
Morrison, 32, is in the final year of his contract at Hillsborough and had been allowed to leave following the loan capture of Nottingham Forest striker David McGoldrick.
Although McGoldrick has this week gone back to Forest, Megson’s options have been bolstered recently by the return to fitness of Chris O’Grady. Striker Ryan Lowe is also on the way back from injury and Gary Madine is the leading striker in League One with 11 goals.
“Unless MK Dons come up with a deal that looks as if they really want to keep Clinton, then he will come back into our first-team squad next week,” stressed Megson. “If he’s doing well, he will have the same opportunity as everyone else at the club.
“MK Dons have still got the opportunity if they want it and if Clinton wants to,” he added. “But they have got to do it properly and do what we have to do. Huddersfield have done it, Charlton have done it, Sheffield United have done it, everyone else has to.”
Megson, meanwhile, has hit back at Sheffield United captain Nick Montgomery and manager Danny Wilson for comments in the wake of Sunday’s Steel City derby at Bramall Lane.
Montgomery accused Owls midfielder Chris Lines of showing ‘disrespect’ in the players’ tunnel at the final whistle and subsequently questioned both his pedigree and performance.
Wilson criticised the appointment of referee Michael Oliver, 26, and insisted he should have awarded a foul on goalkeeper Steve Simonsen during the build-up to Wednesday’s late equaliser.
According to Megson, however, it is both Montgomery and Wilson who are firmly in the wrong.
“I know what went on (in the tunnel) and it wasn’t Chris Lines,” said Megson. “I am also aware of some things that have been said.
“To say that the lad (Lines) has not played above Division One is right – but seven of our team haven’t played above Division One (level) and all of their team have.
“Seven of their players have actually played in the Premiership too – that’s why it was such a good result for us up against real top class players like them.”
Montgomery had taunted Lines about his ‘lack of involvement’ in the derby which ended in a 2-2 draw.
Megson says that, of the two midfielders, Lines’s performance, statistically, was far better.
“You need to look at the stats and make sure you actually had more kicks than the one you’re accusing,” said Megson. “Because Nick didn’t. Chris Lines had more passes, more shots, more possession, and the passes he hit were all more accurate than Nick.
“I like him, he’s a good player, and I would take Nick Montgomery all day long,” Megson added. “But what he’s said about Chris he’s got all wrong.”
On Wilson’s post-match rant, Megson said it was a ‘smokescreen’, adding that the Owls fully warranted at least a point and the referee deserved praise rather than criticism.
“One or two other things that have gone after this game are just not right,” he said.
“After the game was a bit of a smokescreen.
“We had twice as many efforts at goal, twice as many free-kicks in and around the 18-yard box, and twice as many corners.
“I was really disappointed and found it difficult to understand why we were 2-0 down. At the time of the equaliser, it never occurred to me that there was anything wrong with it.”
Megson felt the Owls could have complained about an equal number of important decisions but maintained his praise for referee Oliver.
“We did have a look at the freekick from which they got the second goal – he threw himself down – we could moan about that,” he said.
“The lad also threw himself down after a few minutes when he bumped into Reda Johnson (in the penalty box).
“We could moan about (Ched) Evans with his challenge on Chris (Lines) but we haven’t done.
“Whether 26 or 106, I thought the referee was terrific. I gave him full marks,” said Megson.
““He’s going to be one of our top referees.”
The Owls host Colchester United tomorrow seeking a seventh consecutive victory at Hillsborough.