On the balance of things, the area Sheffield Wednesday will prioritise in their backline in terms of recruitment this summer is left-back. Adam Reach, who played at left wing-back for large parts of last season, and Matt Penney have left the club. While the Owls will likely be keen on giving rookie Ryan Galvin some more first-team experience, more as a deputy, they will want to bring someone ready to help the club bounce back into the Championship at the first attempt.
Unless things drastically change at Hillsborough financially, they will explore the free-agent market as the first port of call. And, luckily for them, there are several decent options, with one former Owl standing out from the crowd. Ian Nolan, 50, last turned out for Southport in 2003 but is keen on returning to playing in the 2021/22 campaign. So, could he be a player Wednesday’s recruitment team run the rule over this summer?
Gone are the days where Wednesday could target the likes of Daniel Pudil and the great Urby Emanuelson, so making a move for experienced campaigner Nolan makes sense. The left-back, who hails from Liverpool, can also deputise at right full-back, as he’s comfortable using both feet. And it’s believed his energy and stamina, at nearly 51 years old, could make him an option at wing-back if Darren Moore plays with three centre-halves.
On his day, Nolan will prove to be a match for League One’s best wingers. His commitment and determination, as well as his no-nonsense style of defending, will quickly reacquaint the seventeen time Northern Ireland cap with the Wednesday faithful. He last turned out for the Owls over two decades ago before joining Bradford on a free transfer. So, he will be keen to get into the building and get familiar with the unchanged surroundings.
Nolan played over one hundred and fifty times for Wednesday, and the loyal fan base will undoubtedly be over the moon if he was to sign. It will also prove to be shrewd business by the club, as the scouser is available on a free transfer, will accept a modest wage, and will be a great asset in the dressing room.
Even Nolan himself is keen to do all he can to make a move to Hillsborough happen sooner rather than later. The former Preston youth product said, “Wednesday need a left-back, they need cover at right-back, they need pace, and they need experience. I’m all of those things.” Whether this former Owl will be on Wednesday’s radar in the coming weeks remains to be seen.