two men who face a fight to earn places in Sheffield Wednesday’s Championship side issued a reminder to Dave Jones by grabbing the goals that brought an impressive win against Reading on the Algarve last night.
Mike Jones, for so long out of favour last season under Gary Megson and his managerial successor, gave the Owls the lead with an unstoppable shot from 20 yards moments before half time at the municipal stadium in Albufeira.
It was his first goal for the club, and O’Grady, who was out of the team for last season’s promotion run-in, followed that with an 89th minute clincher after a shot by fellow second-half sub Marlon Harewood was half-saved.
Dave Jones fielded a much-changed side after Sunday’s 2-0 defeat against Sporting Lisbon, in keeping with his policy of taking a good look at all his players, but made only a few substitutions last night, while Reading carried out their plan of changing all their outfield team for the second half, with Michail Antonio among those to be sent on.
The Premier side’s new Russian striker, Pavel Pogrebynak, made his debut from the bench, but it could not stop Wednesday putting together a performance that deserved the result, in Dave Jones’s view.
Mike Jones’s goal came when the winger cut in from the right and smacked the ball into the bottom corner.
Stephen Bywater, who missed the Sporting match with a minor injury, touched an inswinging cornee on to the bar in the 33rd minute.
In a good start by the Owls, Jermaine Johnson had a shot saved and had Reading on the back foot with his runs, and Mike Jones volleyed wide.
New signing Nejc Pecnik could have made it 2-0 in the 65th minute. After a lovely through ball by Johnson, the Slovenian chipped past the keeper but the ball went just wide.
A cross by Antonio - who generally had a quiet outing - was flicked on by Pogrebynak, but former Wednesday target and ex-Rotherham forward Adam Le Fondre missed the resulting chance.
Bywater preserved the lead with an excellent stop from another Royals sub, Jobi McAnuff.
Harewood, who is on trial with the Owls, burst through on goal and thoough the keeper got a hand to his shot, O’Grady made it 2-0.
Before the game Harewood made it clear that his future is still uncertain.
He said: “I haven’t spoken to the manager about contracts or anything like that, I am just doing the best I possibly can while I am here.
“I have plenty left to give, I’m in good shape and I think Sheffield Wednesday is a massive club.”
OWLS: Bywater, Mattock, Llera (Beevers ht), Gardner, R Johnson, M Jones (Maguire ht), Lines, Semedo, J Johnson (Harewood 75), Pecnik (Prutton 89), Madine (O’Grady 70).
READING starting line-up: Andersen, Cummings, Mariappa, Gorkss, Shorey, McCleary, Tabb, Leigertwood, Hunt, Church, Roberts.
The Star is donating £200 to Sheffield Wednesday’s support of the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice as part of our Portuguese coverage.