Irish FA deal suits O'Brien and Owls

Sheffield Wednesday v Swindon Town SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY have struck a deal with the Irish Football Association after midfield player Joey O'Brien won an international call-up. Ian Appleyard

The teenager, who has just agreed to extend his loan from Bolton Wanderers for a second month, was named in the Republic of Ireland Under-19 squad for two friendlies against Italy later this month.

Owls manager Paul Sturrock persuaded coach Sean McCaffrey to release O'Brien after the first game on January 18 – which means he will not miss the televised home game with Port Vale on Friday, January 21.

Sturrock said: "Joey will go out and play the first game and then come back. We're very thankful to the Under-19 manager and the FA of Ireland for thinking of our situation."

The Owls are looking to be unchanged for the fifth game in a row against Swindon Town and extend a five-match unbeaten run.

Richard Wood has flu, however, so Patrick Collins, who has recovered from a hamstring injury, may return.

Having already lost to their opponents twice this season, Sturrock regards Swindon as a "bogey team" but added: "They have learned how to beat us and it will be a very difficult game. But we're a learning team. We've watched the videos of the two matches and hopefully the players will take our criticisms on board."

Southampton have still not decided whether to extend Kenwyne Jones' loan spell at Hillsborough for a second month.

Paul Sturrock: "We are still looking to eliminate the edginess and tension from our home games."

Last time: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Swindon 1, January 10, 2004, League One

Positions: Sheffield Wednesday 4th, Swindon 10th

Key man: Kenwyne Jones