Double dose of misery for injury-hit JJ

Knee injuries: Jermaine Johnson hit problems in the friendlies at Doncaster Rovers last year and Hillsborough last Saturday
Knee injuries: Jermaine Johnson hit problems in the friendlies at Doncaster Rovers last year and Hillsborough last Saturday
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THEY say that lightning doesn’t strike twice. But in Jermaine Johnson’s case it does.

It is the second successive year where he will miss the start of the season because of a knee injury suffered in the final friendly.

It is also the second year on the trot where he had enjoyed a good pre-season and was looking in top condition.

He missed the first two months of the 2010-11 campaign after damaging knee ligaments in the dress rehearsal at Doncaster.

Cartilage trouble picked up during last Saturday’s game against Stoke is apparently less serious than it could have been, so the Owls will be hoping that this time he is back in a matter of weeks.

His absence is a handicap because, as manager Gary Megson has admitted, he has been the one who has looked like making things happen in the friendlies, with his pace, ability to beat defenders and his shooting, qualities that assumed extra importance at a time when the club have been short of strikers.

Megson admits: “If you were about to play against us and had come to assess us, he’d be the one you’d be worried about.”

But, unless the hole can be filled by a signing, there is now going to be an opening for someone else within the ranks.

A call-up for Daniel Jones is one possibility. The left-back has shown in the past that he is suited to a left-side midfield role.

He is quick and strong and can get forward to hit crosses; the supply to the strikers may even improve if he plays, for Johnson has repeatedly been cutting in on to his right foot for shots at goal, even when a pass to a colleague looked the better bet.

Giles Coke is mobile and a strong runner and can play anywhere across midfield - if he is fit enough after recovering from a knee niggle.

Liam Palmer can do a job on the right flank, as he did as a sub against Stoke after Johnson stayed off at half-time, and that could mean the adaptable and on-form Chris Sedgwick switching to the left.

Palmer produced one of the best bits of skill when he pulled a ball down and cleverly made space for a cross.

Another option would be to switch from 4-4-2 to a different formation, perhaps with three centre-halves and two wing-backs who would get forward.