Top academy product Stobbs may graduate

Jack Stobbs.
Jack Stobbs.
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SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY’S head coach Stuart Gray is weighing up the prospect of blooding a couple of youngsters today and admits he is excited by several young talents at Hillsborough.

Top of the list is teenage winger Jack Stobbs, with the 17-year-old having marked himself out as a star in the making following a thrilling campaign at academy level.

Young French striker Franck Betra has also caught the eye of Gray.

With Wednesday having been safe for several weeks, there is a clamour from fans for one or two youngsters to be thrown into the fray following the successful promotion of Caolan Lavery, although Gray remains circumspect.

He said: “We all want to see kids that come through the system.

“But first and foremost, the kids have to be good enough to step up into the first team.

“But you also have to be wary of whether it is the right game and opportunity for them and their careers.

“The last thing I want to do is destroy their confidence. They have got to come in and hit the ground running.

“Whether one or two will get a taste, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Specifically on Stobbs, he added: “What I see in Jack is not the typical type of academy footballer who comes through.

“Jack is one of those who runs at defenders in one-versus-one situations and he’s got a great habit of putting the ball between the posts for someone to score.

“But the jump from playing Under-18s to Under-21s to first team is huge and I don’t want to put too much expectation on the boy. But he’s one for the future.”

Gray has, meanwhile, scotched rumours Reda Johnson’s contract is to be cancelled.