Owls target Friio as Adams is ruled out

Ian Appleyard SHEFFIELD Wednesday could swoop for Nottingham Forest midfield player David Friio after Steve Adams was ruled out of action for the next six weeks.

Friio spent four years with Owls manager Paul Sturrock at Plymouth Argyle, but has failed to make an impact at the City Ground following a 100,000 move 11 months ago.

Sturrock remains a huge admirer of the Frenchman and a loan deal could be in the pipeline although former Southampton midfield player Dennis Wise is another option.

Adams has broken down with Achilles tendon trouble just five games after returning from a lengthy absence with calf trouble.

Sturrock is confident the 25-year-old will make a complete recovery and return in the final stages of the season, but admits the immediate loss is a setback.

"It is a severe blow, but if we want to see Steve involved in the latter stages of the season it is important to take him out of the firing line now," he said.

"We have two weekends devoted to the FA Cup in January so for the player's sake and the benefit of the team, we are going down this road.

"He will have injections, scans and rest, and hopefully be back in six weeks. He wants to do well for this club and everyone has seen glimpses of how influential he can be."

Striker Lee Peacock, one of five players told they can leave by Sturrock in the transfer window, is emerging as a target for Notts County, but Sturrock has yet to conclude any new signings of his own.

"We are having a lot of negotiations with a lot of people," he said. "I would love to think that we will have someone in before the next League game at Leicester City in nine days time.

"I will be having a meeting with the chairman, the chief executive and the coaching staff in the next 24 hours to determine the areas in which we need to strengthen. Now that Steve Adams is ruled out, midfield is an area we will have to think about – and I want to act sooner rather than later to avoid the bartering in the last few weeks."

Sturrock has refused to be drawn into a slanging match with South Yorkshire neighbours Rotherham United over striker Deon Burton's move to Hillsborough.

Millers chief executive Phil Henson has accused Burton of "lacking respect" by pulling out of what would have been his final appearance for the club against Doncaster Rovers on New Year's Eve. The Jamaican international had also skipped training the previous day and it was his wife who informed the club of his unavailability, apparently due to sickness, just two hours before kick-off.

Sturrock said: "Lots of players have moved between Rangers and Celtic or Exeter and Plymouth. It will pass. Sooner or later there will be other stories coming along and this will die a death."

Henson, who is exploring the possibility of fining Burton two weeks' wages, said: "We were not very happy with the very late explanation and the non-appearance of Deon last Saturday.

"He showed a total lack of respect for the supporters and his fellow professionals."

Burton, who cost 110,000, is not available for tomorrow's FA Cup third-round tie against Charlton Athletic at Hillsborough having played for Rotherham in the first round against Mansfield Town.

Defender Peter Gilbert, 22, has signed a three-and-a-half year contract to stay at Hillsborough after the completion of his loan spell from Leicester City.

ian.appleyard@ypn.co.uk