Jordan Storey hoping to pen promotion chapter with Sheffield Wednesday

It’s doubtful that Jordan Storey has much in common with Eric Cantona.

But 30 years to the day that the mercurial Frenchman donned the blue and white stripes of Sheffield Wednesday, up stepped Storey to make his Owls debut.

Cantona – who would go on to have such an impact in English football at Leeds United and Manchester United – only appeared fleetingly for Wednesday, in a six-a-side game at Sheffield Arena against American side Baltimore Blast, after being taken on trial by then manager Trevor Francis.

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Storey will have a little longer to impress, having joined the Owls on loan for the rest of the season havin fallen out of favour at Preston North End.

Sheffield Wednesday new boy Jordan Storey (Picture: Steve Ellis)Sheffield Wednesday new boy Jordan Storey (Picture: Steve Ellis)
Sheffield Wednesday new boy Jordan Storey (Picture: Steve Ellis)

And the 24-year-old certainly made an impact on his Wednesday debut – alongside fellow loan arrival Harlee Dean – as Darren Moore’s team beat promotion rivals Ipswich Town 1-0.

Marvin Johnson’s sixth-minute goal earned the victory, but this was a dominant Owls performance and only wayward finishing prevented a far healthier scoreline.

Moore has been forced to use round pegs in square holes when it comes to his three centre-backs this season, due to long-term injuries to Dominic Iorfa, Chey Dunkley and Lewis Gibson.

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Full-backs Johnson and Liam Palmer have coped admirably in a back three, but Wednesday looked far more solid defensively on Saturday with Storey and Dean drafted in alongside Sam Hutchinson.

Owls new boy Jordan Storey wins a header against Ipswich (Picture: Steve Ellis)Owls new boy Jordan Storey wins a header against Ipswich (Picture: Steve Ellis)
Owls new boy Jordan Storey wins a header against Ipswich (Picture: Steve Ellis)

It was Storey’s first game since Preston were beaten at Blackburn Rovers on December 4.

And the defender revealed the chance to work under Moore –himself a tough, uncompromising centre-half in his playing days – convinced him to drop down to League One on loan.

“I am buzzing (with my debut),” said Storey. “To come in and get a clean sheet, win 1-0, it was the perfect start for me personally.

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“I had a long discussion with Darren, and with him being a fellow centre-back, I thought it would help improve me. He sees me as a key part of the team.

Sam Hutchinson (Picture: Steve Ellis)Sam Hutchinson (Picture: Steve Ellis)
Sam Hutchinson (Picture: Steve Ellis)

“Darren was one of the reasons why I came to the club. He played at a very high level, a very good player, and I think he can help teach me a lot. I wanted to come here and learn.

“Darren said he could help me, tidy up a few things, teach me, which was a really big selling point for me. I want to come here and still improve. When he said he wanted me, it was a no-brainer really.

“Harlee is a great guy, got a lot of experience, as well as Hutch, two very experienced players and I think it will help me personally, playing with them. Hopefully we can form a solid partnership.

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“I knew the situation here, injuries in central defence, so it was a challenge that I wanted to take on.

“You look at the team, the squad that we have, it’s Championship quality. There are so many talented players here.”

The Owls made the perfect start against Ipswich, scoring from their first meaningful attack.

Right wing-back Nathaniel Mendez-Laing crossed, and Johnson’s late run saw him volley home at the back post.

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Florian Kamberi, Josh Windass, Mendez-Laing (twice) and Sam Hutchinson all had good chances to add to the scoreline, while the best Ipswich could muster was a Bersant Celina long-range effort which cleared the crossbar.

The second-half was a more even affair, Wednesday’s game management meaning they always looked comfortable.

Still chances came and went, Barry Bannan headed over, Johnson fired wide, before Town goalkeeper Christian Walton pulled off the save of the day to deny Bannan from 20 yards.

Storey’s late block on Sone Aluko meant there was no smash-and-grab ending for the visitors, who saw Wednesday leapfrog them in the table into eighth spot.

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The Owls – who host Morecambe tomorrow at Hillsborough, the first of six home games in a nine-match spell in 28 days – are six points off the play-offs, 12 adrift of the top two.

But Storey is relishing the challenge.

“There’s no reason why we can’t go on a really good run, pick up a lot of wins,” he said. “The play-offs look more realistic, but there’s no reason why we can’t aim for the automatics, and keep pushing ourselves.

“The club is just outside of the play-offs, looking at promotion and automatics, so it was a great challenge for me.

“It’s a massive club, playing here in front of 23,000, it’s why you play football.

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“It was very frustrating (at Preston), from playing every week to not even playing.

“It was a kick in the teeth. But that’s football, you just have to get on with it.”

Sheffield Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell, Storey, Dean, Hutchinson, Mendez-Laing (Palmer 63), Dele-Bashiru, Luongo, Bannan, Johnson (Hunt 84), Windass (John-Jules 72), Kamberi. Unused substitutes: Paterson, Byers, Wildsmith, Sow.

Ipswich: Walton, Donacien, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Burns, El Mizouni (Norwood 70), Bakinson, Thompson, Chaplin (Aluko 71), Celina, Bonne (Pigott 79). Unused substitutes: Harper, Burgess, Edwards, Hladky.

Referee: D Bond (Lancashire).

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