Sheffield Wednesday: Owls capable of revival

Matty Fryatt celebrates his second goal against Reading
Matty Fryatt celebrates his second goal against Reading
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Wednesday are going to have to avoid a repeat of last year if comfort is to be found for them and Dave Jones, writes Paul Thompson.

Tomorrow’s match is their 15th of the season, in the league.

This same stage marked the start of a run of seven consecutive defeats last season, beginning with a 2-0 result against Blackpool at Hillsborough.

Milan Mandaric stood by Jones then and was vindicated by the revival that began in mid-December and produced promotion form instead of relegation form.

A big question now is how far will the chairman continue to go in keeping faith with his manager? It is what many fans are talking about.

Carlton Palmer’s fears, expressed in The Star this week, are easy to understand: he suggested that a change seems likely if results have not improved within the next month.

Chris Waddle made valid points about the size of Jones’ budget in comparison with that of other managers.

If the Owls lose badly to Huddersfield, in a Yorkshire derby on live TV, I will be wondering whether this will be the final straw for the chairman, however reluctant he may be to jettison an experienced manager whom he admires.

Another feat would see the Owls still in the bottom three, with only 11 points and with virtually a third of the season gone.

There is little scope now to change the players before the end of the year - though emergency loans are still possible before next Thursday’s deadline.

Sometimes the head of a club, desperate to avoid the calamity of relegation, can see a change of manager as the only possible solution. There is the cost of that to consider, and the issue of whether there is anybody available who could do a better job.

Mandaric has been faithful to Jones, and they get on well. Jones, meanwhile, knows that pressure and speculation always go hand in hand with a manager’s job.

Five-goal shows come along rarely, so another cannot realistically be expected tomorrow, but more of the attacking flair shown against Reading will do nicely.

I fancy the Owls to win again - and, who knows, better times may be just around the corner.