Sheffield Wednesday: JJ will face fight for place

Jermaine Johnson is led away by fitness coach Alex Armstrong as referee Darren Drysdale holds the red card
Jermaine Johnson is led away by fitness coach Alex Armstrong as referee Darren Drysdale holds the red card
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Red-carded Jermaine Johnson will have to translate his verbal apology into deeds as he bids to polish his tarnished reputation.

The Owls forward has overcome controversies in the past and forced his way back into the hearts of the fans.

The fact that he is contrite after his self-inflicted sending-off at Rotherham is a good start.

Maybe he is marking down the away game against Middlesbrough on August 31 as a big date in his diary.

He will be suspended for Burnley at home on Saturday, Leeds away the following Saturday and Millwall at home on August 24 as well as being hit in the pocket by Wednesday for his head-butt on Ben Pringle.

Manager Dave Jones has no sympathy with him and it seems that JJ did not expect any from anybody, judging by his three tweets soon after final whistle, which were obviously aimed at the fans:

He said: “Know it’s not acceptable, but I really wanna say I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart.

“Hope I can make it up to you guys.

“Not looking for no-one to be sorry for me. I just want to apologise to all the fans that came to the game.”

A sub on Tuesday, Johnson has also damaged his chances of regaining a place in the side, with Jeramy Helan, Michail Antonio and Jacques Maghoma in the squad and an additional striker being sought. It may not be a simple matter of him bouncing back into the team against Middlesbrough.

Tuesday was a return to bad old ways for the 33-year-old. It was his fifth sending-off in six years as a Wednesday player, and he began his Hillsborough career under suspension after being red-carded in the final game of a chequered time at Bradford. He has also been sent off for fighting while playing for Jamaica, during his time with the Owls.

At Rotherham in the Capital One Cup 2-1 defeat, he was outnumbered and closely marked in a run down the wing; that led to a physical tussle and a confrontation with Pringle, and an inexcusable reaction from JJ.

His other Owls dismissals were at Stevenage in 2011-12 for violent conduct off the ball; in the Sheffield derby at Hillsborough in October, 2008, for kicking a water bottle into the crowd; and against Watford and West Brom in 2007-08 for retaliation and a confrontation.

In what could be his final year with the club, he can do without any further disciplinary problems.

Rafael Floro has been cleared by Dave Jones of any blame for the defending of which the manager was critical at Rotherhham.

It was an unhappy competitive debut for the Portuguese 19-year-old left back from Porto because the Owls crashed to defeat.

But Jones, who was without Reda Johnson and Joe Mattock, said: “Rafa did all right. He got his opportunity. He wasn’t to blame, didn’t do anything wrong. It was more collective that we didn’t do what we should have done.”