GARY Megson is calling on Gary Madine to show that his improvement against Rochdale was no flash in the pan.
The striker earned a favourable report from the manager only a week after being taken off at half time of the MK Dons game.
A sub at Dale on Saturday, Madine was sent on for the second half and caused the home team problems before scoring a late consolation goal.
That display brought immediate confirmation that the £400,000 centre forward will start at Tranmere tonight.
Megson has now also reflected: “I think he had the ‘monk’ on with me after the MK Dons game because I took him off at half-time and told him he didn’t head the ball, didn’t get hold of it.
“Against Rochdale, he did head it, he did get hold of it, he scored and he played well.
“That’s the Gary Madine that I now know we’ve got, and that’s the one that’s got to turn up week in, week out.”
It was also a reversal of roles for Neil Mellor: he replaced Madine against MK Dons at half-time, scored and played well.
But Megson felt that he did not achieve the same standards on Saturday, and that is why the change was made.
The manager, still likely to be without illness victim Jermaine Johnson, is not saying what his latest tactic or line-up will be, after switching to 5-3-2 on Saturday, then changing to 4-4-2 when the team had gone two down.
“We tried it with three centre-halves; we didn’t have a huge amount of success, not because of them - we got caught in different areas - but I don’t think it’s about formations, or tactics, it’s about what’s between the ears, and it’s about heart,” he said.
“It’s about people, and accepting we’re five points above the relegation zone, yet we’re still talking about getting into the play-offs, which we’re nine points below.
“We have to accept reality. We’re not getting results. We’re not playing particularly well.
“We haven’t won a game in the League since Bristol Rovers [on December 11].
“Our away form is awful, we have four away on the trot in the league; we’ve lost one of them; if we keep performing as we are doing, we’ll not get anything from them.”
Megson is also trying to come to terms with his own role, as he is not only manager but also a fan.
“It’s difficult for me at the moment,” he says. “One of the problems I knew I was going to have here is that I’m exactly the same as the supporters. I want us to be winning 6-0, I want us to be ahead after 10 minutes.
“I’m so desperate, have such a desire to take this club forward, that I have to be careful I don’t upset the apple cart by, if there’s such a thing, caring too much about how we go about our work, and everything having to be perfect and 100 per cent. I have to accept that at times it’s not going to work out, but I’m finding that difficult at the moment.”
Wednesday face a Tranmere side who have lost only one of their last seven games.
They won 3-1 at Plymouth last Saturday; in their last home game, they drew 1-1 with Rochdale.
Rovers have risen to 17th and a win tonight would take them above the Owls.
One of the goals at Plymouth on Saturday was scored by Enoch Showunmi, his eighth of the season.
The 28-year-old striker failed to score for Wednesday in six starts and four outings as sub during a two-month loan from Bristol City in 2008.