Date: 22nd November 2010 at 12:29pm
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Wednesday striker Neil Mellor netted his second hat-trick in ten days at MK Dons yesterday – can he be the man to fire the Owls back to the Championship?

Mellor, on-loan from Preston North End for the season, bagged three as Wednesday saw off the Dons 4-1 at Stadium:mk in npower League One, just ten days after completing a treble against Hartlepool United in a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy by the same scoreline.

The former Liverpool Academy graduate is the Owls’ leading scorer in all competitions this season with 12 goals from 21 appearances, and just 13 starts, so far this season.

Wednesdayites have been quick in praise of Mellor in recent weeks, especially following yesterday’s emphatic victory, and comparisons to a certain Steve Maclean have since come to fruition.

Scottish striker Maclean, now on-loan at Oxford, grabbed the goals to steer the Owls towards promotion from League One last time out, with 20 league goals to his name, despite being injured for a long spell in the 2004-05 campaign.

Mellor could eclipse that total if he continues his current fine run of form, and stays injury-free, laying the foundations for another promotion push for Alan Irvine’s men this season.

As players they couldn’t be much different – Mellor a strong, powerful player who can hold the ball up and simply out-muscle his opposite defenders, being a big threat from set-pieces with his head (although his goals have come mainly from his feet thus far this season).

In contrast, Maclean was very much a ‘poacher’, grabbing the scrappy goals, scoring the penalties, and chipping in with the odd screamer now and again.

Both have produced the same outcome though – goals – and after a somewhat sluggish opening couple of months of the season for Wednesday, the Owls finally seem to have a leading targetman to look towards for the remainder of the season – Mellow has certainly staked his claim for the first name down on the team sheet.

Mellor can’t be recalled to Deepdale as part of his loan deal with the Owls, and it seems as if Alan Irvine, his boss at Preston, will be looking to make the switch a permanent one next season.

The hitman seems, so far, head and shoulders above his opposition this season, and long may it continue.

Whether he can continue that form at Championship level, where he came in for some stick at Preston from certain parts – despite netting 30 goals in 63 league starts for the club, is the next test for the striker.

Owls fans, and Mellor, won’t be concerned about that just yet though, as the striker aims to continue his top-scoring form to fire Wednesday to promotion this season.

It’s looking good so far, keep it up ‘Chunky’ (as was signed on the matchball he took home following his weekend treble)!