Jones is sure Martinez can cover for Kirkland

Damian Martinez
Damian Martinez
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On-loan goalkeeper Damian Martinez is on standby to make his Sheffield Wednesday debut tomorrow after Chris Kirkland was struck down by illness.

The Owls No 1 missed training yesterday with a bug and Martinez – who joined the Owls this week from Arsenal on a one-month loan deal – could be handed the gloves for the trip to fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers.

The 21-year-old South American goalkeeper has been capped with Argentina Under-20s and been called up to the senior squad, while also making a couple of League Cup appearances for the Gunners.

He impressed Owls manager Dave Jones in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Manchester City and will provide competition for Kirkland during his Hillsborough loan.

“He’s looked really good,” said Jones. “At the moment he’s playing because Kirky is ill. If Kirky turns in not too good ... that’s why we’ve been working with Damien.

“He’s a good prospect. He played in the game at Man City, did really well. What he’s done in training has backed that up.

“He’s very agile, he’s got great feet, his distribution is good, and he made two or three good saves at Man City.

“He’s not got the experience of being around the first team all the time, which is what we’re trying to give him. It helps us and it helps to keep Kirky on his toes because there’s competition.

“Of course we’ve got to pay something towards his wages, but I will say that Arsenal have helped us out, and we’re grateful for that.”

Jones said Martinez’s arrival at Hillsborough came through former assistant manager Terry Burton, now in charge of the Gunners’ reserves set-up.

“I spoke to Terry (Burton). They (Arsenal) have three goalkeepers ahead of him and were looking to give him first-team experience.

“Terry offered him to us, which I’m grateful for.”

The Owls are looking for their first win of the season tomorrow against a Bolton side who have also endured a torrid start to the Championship, sitting two points above Wednesday in 20th place.

Jones has the support of chairman Milan Mandaric, despite the Owls’ struggles.

“He (Mandaric) is a football person; he sees a lot of things; he gives a lot of advice, and I’ll help him along with other things as well,” said Jones.

“There’s loads of communication. A lot of things he’s not happy with; a lot of things I’m not happy with and there are a lot of things we are happy with.

“We’re still trying to get one thing in mind: to build a club, try and progress and to get it to to where everybody wants it to go.”