League One Derby County have received a response from Sheffield Wednesday to their loan bid for Owls striker Michael Smith, as reported by The Sheffield Star.
The Star reports that the Owls have rejected the Rams’ offer for the striker, who scored 20 goals in all competitions last season at Hillsborough. One of those goals scored by the 31-year-old came against Derby on the final day of the regular season, as he converted from the spot to break County’s hearts, condemning the Rams to another season in League One.
Smith is not the only forward target for the Rams, with the club currently in talks with released striker Billy Sharp, who has been a target for other clubs across the EFL since his release from Sheffield United this summer. One forward is already through the door at Pride Park, with the club having agreed upon a return for Martyn Waghorn, who was in the stands over the weekend during their defeat to Wigan Athletic.
The Owls currently have plenty of options in their forward department, the club being aware of their strength in that position and choosing to focus on others, as Ashley Fletcher is the only forward who joined the club this summer. Josh Windass, Lee Gregory and Callum Paterson are all options for the Owls up front this season.
Smith was on the bench for Sheffield Wednesday’s opening Championship game with Southampton on Friday evening but was an unused substitute, with Ashley Fletcher coming on instead. The 31-year-old is familiar to Paul Warne, the pair having worked together during Warne’s time at Rotherham United.
Smith may find himself down the pecking order at Hillsborough this season with the Owls having so many options up front. However, given his experience, the club may be reluctant to see him go and could potentially see him as a leader in the dressing room as one of the more senior figures. Despite this, it does not mean he is completely out of the team. And there should be plenty of chances for him this season to show he still has what it takes.