Jones happy to have Reda back

Back in action: Reda Johnson wants to impress new Owls manager Dave Jones
Back in action: Reda Johnson wants to impress new Owls manager Dave Jones
0
Have your say

REDA Johnson is back.

The rugged, powerful defender has yet to showcase his talent to new Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones due to a hamstring injury he picked up on international duty for Benin.

Johnson, who has not featured since the Steel City derby, has established himself as an indispensable member of the Owls side. Since being converted from a centre-half to a full-back, the athletic 23-year-old has gone on to make the position his own. Having shaken off his groin niggle, Johnson trained with his team-mates for the first time in a fortnight yesterday and is available for selection for the trip to Notts County.

New Owls chief Jones has to decide whether to recall Johnson to his back four, who kept a clean sheet but looked vulnerable on occasions versus Bournemouth, or to keep faith with Julian Bennett.

Speaking to the press corps yesterday, Jones said: “It is good news Reda is fit.

“He is a big, powerful strong player but I am still assessing the rest of the team.

“I’m learning as I go along and so are the players.”

Reda’s namesake, Jermaine, is also on the mend from the knee ligament knock he suffered in the local derby loss to Chesterfield a month ago and Jones has hinted he could return to action before the end of the month.

“I spoke to the physio and he is really pleased with Reda,” said Jones. “He is ahead of where he actually thought he was and he is probably going to stay with the physio for another week. You want all your good players to be fit and be able to use them. But someone’s loss is someone’s gain.”

Jones, who shared a drink with ex-Owls chief Brian Laws at the club’s Middlewood training ground yesterday, says he is still acclimatising to his new surroundings and that he is just concentrating on fine-tuning areas of the team.

“It is always difficult to come to a club during a season,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether they have been doing good, bad or indifferent.

“It is always difficult to come to a club and set down what you actually want to do. It is more a case of just tweaking things as you go along and hopefully you get where you want to go and then come the summer time you can start afresh.

“I’m slowly starting to change things around the training ground and hopefully that will benefit in the future.”

The new Owls chief plans on upgrading the changing rooms at the training ground and has indicated he will vary the times the team trains together in search of a consistent winning formula.

Jones said the squad will train at 3pm today before heading to Nottingham, where they will stay overnight, in preparation for the clash with Notts County, who have striker Lee Hughes back following a three-match suspension.

“You have a certain programme that you try and change and adhere to,” he said. “Footballers love routines. They love to know where they are, what time they are there, what they have to wear, what they have got to eat and what time they have got to get up. It is like a military operation.

“We are adding hopefully better things to what is already here.”

Coach Terry Burton will be on the touchline alongside Jones, having fully recovered from illness.

One to watch

Jonathan Forte scored a hat-trick in last Saturday’s 4-2 win at Charlton and has now hit five goals for Notts, all in his last five appearances - he also netted against Chesterfield and Carlisle at Meadow Lane. The 25-year-old ex-Sheffield United striker was signed from Southampton in January on loan for the rest of the season.

History lesson

Jonathan Forte scored a hat-trick in last Saturday’s 4-2 win at Charlton and has now hit five goals for Notts, all in his last five appearances - he also netted against Chesterfield and Carlisle at Meadow Lane. The 25-year-old ex-Sheffield United striker was signed from Southampton in January on loan for the rest of the season.