Sheffield Wednesday: Heff's got a Bristol double on his mind

After breaking his goalscoring duck for Sheffield Wednesday against former club Bristol Rovers in the Owls' final Hillsborough outing of 2010, Paul Heffernan has his sights set on shooting down the red and white half of the south-west city next weekend.

The Irish goal predator was full of smiles after claiming his first goal in Wednesday colours in the 6-2 routing of the Pirates on December 11, with the drubbing helping seal the fate of soon-to-be-axed boss

Paul Trollope.

And while his late 81st-minute strike carried little weight in terms of clinching the victory, it meant the world to the forward.

Having arrived at Wednesday in the summer with a goal-laden reputation in League One football, Heffernan – who turned 29 last Wednesday – has had scant opportunity to display his finishing credentials after being

almost exclusively used as a substitute since coming to the club.

Behind fellow close-season recruits Neil Mellor and Clinton Morrison in the pecking order, Heffernan, who joined from South Yorkshire neighbours Doncaster Rovers, has had to do it tough and few would begrudge his celebrations against the Pirates, where he spent a productive loan spell in the second half of last season, bagging four goals in 10 matches ahead of being recalled by Doncaster due to an injury crisis.

Goals are the lifeblood of any striker and Heffernan, who has at least been pushed up the striking order following the loan departure of Marcus Tudgay to Nottingham Forest, is hoping that he can continue with his knack of scoring against his former sides when Wednesday head west for an FA Cup third-round clash with Bristol City at Ashton Gate on January 8.

Heffernan left City to join Doncaster in the summer of 2005 and after making his debut on the first day of the season against his former club, the forward netted in the reverse fixture in South Yorkshire in a 2-0 win in November 2005.

When Doncaster linked up with the Robins again back in the Championship in 2008-09, Heffernan netted the only goal of the game in the hosts 1-0 victory over the Bristolians at the Keepmoat in February 2009 – just a few days after striking in the Valentine's Day single-goal home success over future employers Wednesday!

On his maiden strike against City's loathed near-neighbours Rovers at Hillsborough, Heffernan said: "I was delighted to find the net at last, as it had been a bit of a wait. It's usually the case where you score against your old club!

"While I really enjoyed being on loan there last year, it was really good to get off the mark, especially in front of the home supporters.

"I've scored a few goals against my old clubs, but in terms of getting off the mark during the season, I've usually done it pretty quick.

"Obviously, I haven't had the amount of game time I'd have liked and it's been a bit frustrating coming off the bench, but hopefully that goal is a sign of things to come.

"We've got another of my old clubs early in the new year and a few of the lads were saying the draw was a bit disappointing as there's all the glamour clubs in the Premier League – and we get Bristol City.

"But I'm happy enough with going back to my old club. I haven't been back there for a while and it will be nice to see a few familiar faces, but hopefully I'll be able to help us to a win.

"The likes of Louis Carey and Cole Skuse are still there from my time and there's Keith Millen and you always look forward to going back."

After plundering the stricken Pirates at S6, Wednesday– who recorded their biggest-ever win over the visitors – veered from the sublime to the ridiculous just seven days later in deepest Devon when they crashed 5-1 to Exeter City on their first visit to St James' Park since 1980.

With festive home games against Yeovil and Peterborough falling victim to the big freeze at Hillsborough – alongside the scheduled Boxing Day trip to Tranmere, it provided an unwholesome statistic to end 2010 with.

Heffernan, an unused sub, insists the defeat was a one-off, and is confident Wednesday's implosion in the second half after the scores were locked at 1-1 at the break won't happen again with the visitors' defence having hitherto developed a stingy reputation this term on the back of nine clean sheets and a leakage of two goals in a game just three times.

On the inexplicable Exeter result, Heffernan said: "I think it was a fairly even game until they got the second goal. To be fair, they scored a really great goal and after that, we never recovered and it looked like they could score a few more.

"A score of 5-1 was really disappointing from our point of view. The conditions weren't great, although the pitch wasn't too bad, considering all the snow and frost and we couldn't really use that as an excuse.

"It was as bad as it was for us.

"We've just got to put it down to one of those days. The week before, it looked as if we could score ten and then we concede five!"

Having been kept coolling their heels over Christmas due to the weather, with successive home games called off due to a mammoth 87 frozen pipes in the Hillsborough stands, Wednesday are desperate for a weather break, while needing no incentive ahead of their short trip over the border to West Yorkshire to face Huddersfield in a scheduled televised derby tomorrow lunch-time (12.15pm) to start 2011 with.

The short trek to the Galpharm Stadium promises to be a truly mouth-watering one as the Owls seek revenge after being well beaten 2-0 at home on November 2 and Town seeking to get back on track following miserable festive reverses to Hartlepool and Southampton.

Heffernan said: "It's a bit disappointing what has happened with the last few games as a few wins over Christmas can really set you up. But we've got a great derby at Huddersfield, with us both being up there and that should be a great one and hopefully we can get back on the pitch.

"The weather has been a bit of a nightmare at times. Although we've got an indoor facility we can use, so we're a bit lucky in that sense whereas a lot of other clubs in Yorkshire haven't been able to call on training facilities really.

"Most days have been alright, but it has been tricky a few days."

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