JJ must wait as Wednesday face ‘big test’

Sub role: Jermaine Johnson may stay on the bench for the visit of Colchester.
Sub role: Jermaine Johnson may stay on the bench for the visit of Colchester.
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IT was something to smile about at last on the day after April Fools’ Day when the Owls beat tomorrow’s opponents, Colchester, 2-1.

IT was something to smile about at last on the day after April Fools’ Day when the Owls beat tomorrow’s opponents, Colchester, 2-1.

The Owls had collected only four points from their previous seven games and slipped to 17th in the table.

But that victory against the U’s proved to be a turning point, followed by a 4-0 home win against Tranmere as Gary Megson went on to make sure that the club achieved safety before he was able to rebuild the squad into today’s promotion-challenging outfit.

Tomorrow will provide an opportunity for the Owls to show Colchester how far they have come in the last six months.

Megson’s men want the game to be less of a turning point, more of a step along the way as they attempt to maintain a 100 per cent home record.

That April game saw the return of Jermaine Johnson to the side after he had been on the bench for three games.

Now fans will wonder whether he makes the latest of many comebacks tomorrow, after playing as a sub against Chesterfield and United; he went on for James O’Connor at half-time.

David Prutton is another midfield contender after coming back from injury and sitting on the Bramall Lane bench.

But Megson would not disrupt the midfield foursome of O’Connor, Chris Lines, Jose Semedo and Ben Marshall without careful thought, in view of the blend of attacking and defensive qualities that it offers.

O’Connor has come into the side primarily to help curb threats from others teams; this, of course, is not Johnson’s strength, and this issue has to be balanced against the sort of attacking flair that he showed in pre-season.

Megson says: “When JJ trains sometimes you think ‘crikey, you’ve got to have that in the team’.

“But the other day at the Lane, I put him on and I was screaming at him to get in the box at 2-2, because I thought we could win it, and Lewis Buxton, the right-back, went past him to try and do it!

“He’s got to get on board and do what everybody else does, and if we can get that into his game ...

“He CAN do what everybody else does, if he wants to. Nobody else can do what JJ does, because of that quality and explosive pace he’s got.”

So it could be an unchanged side.

Megson expects a formidable challenge from Colchester: “I’ve got a lot time for their manager, John Ward. Like Danny Wilson and myself, he’s been around for a while; I like managers like that.

“He’s got them organised; he’s a good coach and has some decent players. It will be a big test for us. They’ll be really up for it.

“I know they might have one or two issues at the back, but I’m sure whoever they put in will be champing at the bit to show what they can do.

“Colchester went to Rochdale, went a man down and were unfortunate not to win. We have to cope with whatever is thrown at us.”