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Monday 29 Jan 2024
NI Player Watch | Pierce Charles makes Sheffield Wednesday debut

Sheffield Wednesday gave a first team debut to 18-year-old goalkeeper Pierce Charles at the weekend in their FA Cup fourth round tie against fellow Championship side Coventry City.

The teenager, who is the younger brother of Southampton and Northern Ireland midfielder Shea, was given his first senior outing between the sticks by Wednesday due to regular keeper Cameron Dawson being out injured and his back-up James Beadle being cup-tied. 

The Northern Ireland Under-19 international looked confident throughout the 90 minutes of the 1-1 draw at Hillsborough and his superb save in the closing stages of the game earned the Owls a replay, a fact that did not go unnoticed by his team-mate Di’Shon Bernard.

“He’s a really, really good player,” declared the former Manchester United defender. “In training he shows it day in, day out with his distribution, and I’m really glad he got to show that today because he’s a really good keeper. 

“Even at the end his shot-stopping saved us really. The build-up from our side, he was orchestrating that, so it was a good performance from him.”  

Elsewhere in the competition, Conor Bradley picked up the man of the match award in Liverpool’s 5-2 defeat of Norwich City at Anfield after assisting two of the Reds' goals. 

The hugely talented right back now has three assists in his last three outings for Jurgen Klopp’s side and he admitted his progress this season has all been down to hard work. 

“If you keep working hard in training every day you’ll get your chance,” he told the club website. “I was grateful I got the first assist so early, [because] it calmed me down, I think, for the rest of the game. 

“This is my dream club, so to be out there playing at Anfield, I’m just buzzing.”  

Meanwhile, defender Jonny Evans came on as an injury time substitute as Manchester United progressed to the fifth round of the competition with a 4-2 success at League Two Newport County, though Conor Hazard (Plymouth Argyle), Shea Charles (Southampton) and Jamal Lewis (Watford) all face replays after their fourth round ties all ended in stalemate. 

In League One, Paddy Lane and Terry Devlin, who started at right back, were in the Portsmouth team that defeated Port Vale by a single goal to stay top of the table, two points ahead of Bolton Wanderers, who had Eoin Toal and Dion Charles in their starting line-up for Saturday’s 4-1 success at Carlisle United. 

On the goalscoring front, Josh Magennis scored his seventh of the season after converting a fifth minute penalty in Wigan Athletic’s 3-2 home defeat to promotion chasing Stevenage for whom former under-21 international Jamie Reid opened the scoring for the visitors with his 20th goal of the campaign. 

In Scotland, Matty Kennedy was on target for Kilmarnock as his side let a two goal lead slip in their 2-2 draw with Hibernian at Rugby Park, while there was disappointment too for on-loan Livingston goalkeeper Michael McGovern who was making his debut in the 4-1 home defeat to Dundee.

There was a debut also for 18-year-old defender Gallagher Lennon who played the full 90 minutes of Dumbarton’s Scottish League Two victory at Elgin City following his loan move from Stephen Robinson’s St Mirren.

Finally, Northern Ireland international midfielder Megan Bell, who joined Hearts last week on loan from Rangers until the end of the season, made her first appearance for her new club in their Premier League contest at home to Spartans. She was replaced after 66 minutes of the 1-0 victory.