THE MARK TO AID WED­NES­DAY WIN

Vis­i­tors cut way through For­est

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Dunlavy

AI­DEN McGEADY has been tipped to em­u­late Wed­nes­day dar­lings Fer­nando Forestieri and Gary Hooper af­ter open­ing his ac­count in a ruth­less de­mo­li­tion of Not­ting­ham For­est.

The for­mer Celtic star – signed by Spar­tak Moscow for £9.5m in 2010 – failed to sparkle in two years at Ever­ton and had en­dured an equally an­o­dyne start since pitch­ing up on loan at Hills­bor­ough in Fe­bru­ary.

But af­ter McGeady’s coolly dis­patched opener capped a lively per­for­mance, Wed­nes­day boss Car­los Car­val­hal backed the 29year-old winger to show the form that made him Scot­land’s most ex­pen­sive player.

“We know the player and we know his qual­ity,” said Car­val­hal, who, de­spite a straight red card for Barry Ban­nan, saw his side can­ter to vic­tory through fur­ther goals from Hooper and Marco Ma­tias.

“That is why we per­sisted with him. We are do­ing with Ai­den what we did with Fer­nando and Gary. In the be­gin­ning, they were not good.

“You re­mem­ber in the first four or five weeks, peo­ple had a lot of ques­tions and things to say about those play­ers.

“They al­ways had po­ten­tial and we just had to learn about that and cre­ate the con­di­tions for them to show it. McGeady is ex­actly the same and I be­lieve he can show the same qual­i­ties.”

How For­est would kill for a player of McGeady’s qual­ity, ir­re­spec­tive of form. Ham­strung by a trans­fer ban and more in­juries than a trauma ward, Dougie Freed­man’s side is a patch­work of cal­low kids and re­serves.

Al­ready shorn of Britt As­som­ba­longa and Jamie Mackie, a sea­son-end­ing in­jury to nine-goal top-scorer Nelson Oliveira on the eve of kick-off left the Reds with only Chris O’Grady to lead a line bereft of men­ace or mo­bil­ity.

And though early for­ays – a sting­ing shot from David Vaughan, a de­flected ef­fort from Chris Co­hen – threat­ened an up­set, For­est were no match for the vis­i­tors’ ex­pen­sively as­sem­bled artists. Ban­nan soon found his range, pick­ing passes and work­ing space. Kieran Lee ran rings round Vaughan, who suc­cumbed to the pres­sure when he ceded pos­ses­sion 25 yards from goal.

Ban­nan strode away and fed McGeady, who evaded the weak chal­lenge of Eric Lichaj to thump home on the an­gle.

In fair­ness, For­est stemmed the tide ad­mirably, with Ryan Men­des’ header forc­ing an­other save from the im­pres­sive Keiren West­wood, but the se­cond goal was, as Freed­man ad­mit­ted, a “game-killer”. Matt Mills, try­ing to play out from the back, found only Forestieri, who slid Hooper in for a first in six games.

“Millsy has prob­a­bly tried too hard to pick a pass,” said Freed­man. “It’s a mis­take but there’s no blame at­tached to him. I’ve asked the play­ers to play a cer­tain way be­cause I don’t think go­ing long suits us.”

Hope briefly flut­tered in For­est hearts when Ban­nan stupidly piled into a high chal­lenge on Lichaj, earn­ing Wed­nes­day’s third red card in six games. Protests were scant, sug­gest­ing Ban­nan ac­cepted his guilt, though Car­val­hal later sug­gested that his play­ers had been “ed­u­cated” not to com­plain.

For­est did rally but, amid a febrile, frus­trated and in­creas­ingly hos­tile at­mos­phere, it was Wed­nes­day who struck again, At­dhe Nuhiu nod­ding down for fel­low sub Ma­tias to strike home.

BIG MAC: Sh­effield Wed­nes­day mid­fielder Ai­den McGeady cel­e­brates his goal

STAR MAN KIERAN

LEE Sh­ef­fWed

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