Transfer kitty will be a bonus, says Owls boss Irvine

ALAN Irvine has made a swift return to football management – joining Sheffield Wednesday just 10 days after his sacking by Preston North End.

The Owls are currently four points adrift of safety in the Championship relegation zone but Irvine aims to lead the cash-strapped club back to the Premier League inside the next three years.

Chairman Lee Strafford has promised to secure new investment 'within weeks' but Irvine, who spent five years working alongside David Moyes at Everton, is preparing to tackle the job at Hillsborough without the benefit of additional funds.

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"If any money comes, it will be a bonus and, hopefully, I will be able to use it," he said. "But I have not been told there will be any funds available.

"We never had money in real terms at Everton and there certainly wasn't any money at Preston," he added.

"I took the job at Preston because I wanted to work on the training ground with players in detail and depth. That is what I really enjoy doing and I have come here on that understanding.

"Hopefully, it will be the work that is done on the training ground that will give us the results we need in order to succeed."

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Irvine, 51, has signed a contract with the Owls, who have debts in the region of 25m, until summer 2013 and will be assisted by Rob Kelly and Billy Barr, his backroom staff at Preston.

"The league table shows that there is a lot of hard work ahead of us between now and the end of the season," he admitted. "But it is a challenge I will relish and I believe the squad is more than capable of pulling away from the relegation zone.

"Survival this season is the only target," he warned. "To aim for anything other than that at this stage would be foolish."

According to chairman Strafford, Irvine shot to the top of the Owls's wanted list as soon as he became available 10 days ago.

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Strafford said: "He is a high calibre manager, respected throughout football, who has proven he can make a team competitive at this level, and we feel very fortunate to have secured his services."

Sean McAuley, who took charge for the last three games on a caretaker basis, has gone back to his full-time job as Academy manager.

Irvine, meanwhile, will spend this afternoon watching his next opponents, Barnsley, in action at Coventry City. The Owls' game at home to Peterborough was postponed two days ago due to the big freeze.