JJ targets new Owls deal

JERMAINE Johnson has revealed that he wants to stay with Wednesday though his contract runs out in the summer.

The winger could also get a chance to step up his challenge for a new deal when the Owls face Yeovil tonight.

Manager Alan Irvine may turn to JJ's pace as he ponders his line-up in the wake of the 4-0 setback at Leyton Orient.

Johnson yearns to regain his starting place after losing out to Chris Sedgwick in recent games.

The Jamaica international's priority is to help the team kick-start their promotion challenge but he also said: "I love this club.

"I don't want to leave. If an opportunity came for me and the club didn't want me, I'd have to move on.

"But I'd love to stay. I'm confident I can stay."

He was the subject of a 300,000 bid from Nottingham Forest last summer but says: "As a player you always know that if you play well, people come in for you; I wasn't really concentrating on it that much. I want to stay at this club. I want to do well.

"We know we can do much better. In training everyone is pumped up and trains well. We just need to bring that into the games and everything will come.

He admits that he was "a bit upset" at the time he was left out: "But I know the gaffer tries to make the right decisions. He has to be respected. I just have to try to force my way back into the team. I want to play all the time.

"I'm feeling much better. I'm really confident with my fitness. When I come on, I want to do my best for the team and the fans.

"When I start, I'm pumped up, more so when I come on as a sub. I want to do my best all the time."

Johnson admits that he expected the Owls to fare better in League One than they have done: "We need to get points. I thought we were going to be running this league, but it is hard to play in.

"There are more challenges, there is no time on the ball. In the Championship there is more passing. This is a really rough league.

"We have to improve; we have to improve our confidence; we need to believe in everything that we do.

"For me, we have a Championship team. We need to keep focused. I'm always confident that the team I'm playing for can get to the play-offs or go up."

Johnson is not the only option for change tonight, and for starters Irvine must make two alterations: hamstring injury victims Lewis Buxton and Tommy Miller are out.

Buxton's problem is minor; he has already done a little running, but Miller's prognosis depends on the result of a scan.

Jon Otsemobor (calf) and Liam Palmer (ankle) are the only other injured players, which means that Gary Madine looks set to make his home debut, after having to go off on Saturday, and Mark Reynolds may well play his first game, at left-back, after not being risked at Orient.

Right-back is the problem spot, once again, and if Irvine wants to hone the partnership of new boys Michael Morrison and Reda Johnson at centre-back, he may have to put Jones there.

Miller's midfield spot could go to Darren Potter or, if he is considered ready after a significant lay-off, Giles Coke.

Irvine has been working on defensive organisation at set-pieces and believes that this was adversely affected on Saturday by the need to try to integrate new players plus forced changes at half time.

"There were reasons for what happened, reasons we have tried to work on.

"At the moment, I can understand people looking at the negatives. But the form at home has been good."

He believes that the recipe for an uplift is: "To work as hard as we can, do the things that have got us the good results over the course of the season, and make sure we do our jobs when we're defending set pieces."

Irvine expects stubborn resistance from Yeovil: "They're very organised, get a lot of players behind the ball and work extremely hard."

Wednesday need their 'A' game as Yeovil improve

IT'S a long and winding road that leads Yeovil to Hillsborough's door tonight.

The game is part of many twists and turns that Glovers manager Terry Skiverton expects in an attempt to stay in League One.

Yeovil stalled with a 1-0 home defeat by Rochdale.

But Skiverton believes that his third-from-bottom team can restart their survival drive.

They were beaten by a deflected shot on Saturday: the first goal they had conceded in six league games.

Skiverton reflects: "I spoke to my players before the game and I put on our board 'A' and 'B'.

"'A' had a question mark to see how far we could go this season and 'B' was a bit of a jagged, windy road that still gets us up to where we would like to be, which is out of the bottom four.

"Is it going to be the straight road, which is the road less travelled, or is it going to be the one with dips and turns? At the moment we have gone back into that run.

"But, for me, the positives are that the team is performing, they are still putting their bodies on the line. We could have got at least a draw.

"On another day, we could have had one or two goals and with the way the run has been going I felt we were going to get at least a point.

"We are going to keep fighting. It is still tight."

Yeovil, on 26 points, have a game in hand on the two teams immediately above them, Swindon (28 points) and Bristol Rovers (27).

So the importance of a win to them tonight is obvious, and Wednesday need one for different reasons.

The Owls are also bidding for a double, having won 2-0 at Huish Park in October with a solo goal from Jermaine Johnson and a penalty by Tommy Miller.

After being beaten by Wednesday. the Glovers picked up only two points from their next seven league games, but in the middle of that period won 1-0 at Rushden in the FA Cup.

In December they went out of the cup, 4-2 at Hartlepool, but January has been a much better month.

They drew at Plymouth, beat MK Dons and Brentford at home and Swindon away, before losing to Rochdale.

The tightness of their defence during this month suggests that they will work hard to try to frustrate Wednesday.

The Owls are used to having to try to break down visiting teams and have not been doing too badly at it: before the 2-2 draw with Charlton, they had won five in a row at Hillsborough, and they came very close to beating the Addicks despite going two down.

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