Date: 31st December 2007 at 1:10pm
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Striker Leon Clarke has returned to Wednesday after failing to agree a deal to join Southend United following his loan stint – and could feature in tomorrow’s clash with Preston.

The former Wolves man was in tip-top form for the Shrimpers when he first made the three-month loan move to the League One club, and was expected to put pen to paper on a deal in the January transfer window.

But the deal seems to have hit a brick wall, with Owls boss Brian Laws welcoming the striker back to S6 with one eye on being involved in tomorrow’s proverbial six pointner with Preston.

‘Leon is back with us. The deal has not gone through; this means he is still a Sheffield Wednesday player; so he’s got to come into the equation,’ Laws told the Sheffield Star.

‘If the deal is resurrected I’m sure it will be after the early part of the New Year. In the meantime he’ll be available against Preston and for our FA Cup game at Derby on Sunday.’

But the Owls gaffer has also expressed concerns over the striker’s confidence in front of a Wednesday crowd that will be demanding three points against Preston.

‘He also has to be mentally right,’ he continued.

‘Let’s be honest, he had a bit of a torrid time here; the fans haven’t taken to him; he knows that. He hasn’t enjoyed playing in front of the home crowd. I also have to take that into consideration.’