Sheffield Wednesday chief admits recovery is ‘bigger job than imagined’

Chairman: Sheffield Wednesday's Milan Mandaric.
Chairman: Sheffield Wednesday's Milan Mandaric.
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MILAN Mandaric has admitted for the first time the job of reviving Sheffield Wednesday’s fortunes is a “bigger challenge than I imagined”.

The Owls chairman, who bankrolled five new signings in the January transfer window, is concerned by the team’s lengthy winless run.

Indeed, Wednesday have not won in League One since thumping Bristol Rovers 6-2 in mid-December.

Defeat at Tranmere Rovers in midweek has nudged Gary Megson’s troops closer to the relegation zone and left the club 10 points behind Peterborough in the final play-off place.

Speaking to The Star last night, Mandaric said: “I have never experienced a start like this before at a club. We have got quality players but we can’t grind out results so it is getting a little worrying.

“It is quite a big hole that we are in but we have to dig ourselves out of it.

“It is a bigger challenge than I imagined. The club is in a worse condition than I thought.

“It is going to need a lot of work. We have to organise ourselves properly on and off the pitch.

“It is a big challenge but I am not a quitter. The club is going through a transitional period but it is important we all stick together.

“The Cup run shows what we are capable of but unfortunately we are not getting points in the league. There is quality in the team but we have to play for more than 45 minutes.”

Mandaric is under no illusions that it will be difficult for Wednesday to break into the top six now and conceded: “Realistically, it is looking tough but we can’t give up. There is still hope there. We need a couple of good results to get confidence back and the way to do that is by performing well on the road.”

Recently-appointed boss Gary Megson said the Owls were undone by “suicidal” defending against Rovers.

“Tranmere took their first chance and it came due to suicidal defending by us,” said Megson. “We have got to roll our sleeves up and put on a performance in our next game.”

Megson is pondering multiple changes for Birmingham City. With Giles Coke ruled out following his dismissal against Rovers, Chris Sedgwick could be recalled into midfield.

The right-back position remains a problematic area for Megson. Lewis Buxton is unlikely to be available for selection because of a hamstring problem while Jon Otsemobor is also on the sidelines.

Tommy Spurr deputised in midweek but Megson has other options at his disposal. The Owls boss could deploy Michael Morrison in the full-back department and partner Mark Beevers alongside Reda Johnson at centre-back.

Isaiah Osbourne, on-loan from Aston Villa, is eligible to play but Gary Madine is cup-tied, having played for Carlisle United in the FA Cup.