Sheffield Wednesday in Joey Barton link as Slovenian international signs

Sheffield Wednesday are reported to be considering offering Joey Barton a career lifeline.

It has been suggested that QPR are looking to send Barton on loan to the Championship, where the volume of games early in the season means his 12-match ban would be served quicker.

Barton, it is claimed, has already had offers from Blackburn and Nottingham Forest, with Owls boss Jones now having thrown his hat into the ring.

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And the Owls are understood to have confirmed that they are monitoring the situation.

Wednesday have today signed Slovenia international Nejc Pecnik on a two-year deal.

The 26 year old, who has won 15 caps for his national side, impressed Dave Jones on trial last week at Hillsborough and arrives on a free transfer.

Pecnik, who will played for Portuguese side Nacional last season, is Jones’s seventh new signing of the summer. He can operate on either wing or up front.

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The Owls play two pre-season games tonight against Sheffield FC and Stocksbridge Park Steels before flying out to Portugal tomorrow for a week’s training.

Meanwhile, Jones has lost a second member of his Hillsborough backroom team.

Just a week after No 2 Terry Burton left to join Arsenal’s coaching set-up, academy manager Sean McAuley has left Hillsborough to join American MLS outfit Portland Timbers.

McAuley - in charge of the Academy which has produced first-team talent like Mark Beevers and Tommy Spurr - will take up his position as assistant head coach with the Timbers later this month.

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The 40-year-old joined the Owls in 2005 and, after taking control of the academy a year later, successfully steered a raft of youth team players into the senior squad.

In addition, McAuley twice managed the Wednesday first team on a caretaker basis.

He represented Portland Timbers during his playing days and will return Stateside to continue his career on the other side of the white line.

McAuley said: “It is a massive wrench for me to be leaving Sheffield Wednesday but this opportunity is a great one for me at this stage of my career.

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“Hillsborough is not a place I want to leave but Portland is a place I want to go.”

Owls chairman Milan Mandaric added: “Sean is a good man and a talented coach who is very dedicated.

“He expressed a desire to take up this opportunity and although we did not want him to leave, he does so with our very best wishes.”