PAUL Sturrock is tipping Joey O'Brien to make it big after his impressive loan stint at Sheffield Wednesday.

The Owls manager paid the young Wanderer an unprecedented compliment last weekend, when he made him captain for the day at Brentford in appreciation of his efforts in helping the Hillsborough force their way into the League One promotion frame.

"I think everybody at the club felt it was appropriate as a 'thank you' for his services over the last three months," Sturrock said in praise of the 19-year-old Dubliner.

"He's been different class"

O'Brien made a flying start to his 15-match Hillsborough stint when he scored on his debut in a tough derby duel with Hull City, which Wednesday lost 3-2.

Sam Allardyce's scouts reported that he looked "a boy among men" at times but any doubts that he might struggle to adapt to the physical challenge of the lower leagues were soon dispelled.

Sturrock was sorry to see him go, but had no option because of the three-month limit on loans.

"He's a model professional and has everything to be a fantastic footballer," the Wednesday boss said.

"He's done a fantastic job and I think he will benefit from having played in this league. It's helped him and I'm sure he'll be great for Bolton."