Sheffield Wednesday: Johnson aids Owls bid for maiden win

Roger Johnson produced an outstanding individual performance at Oakwell.
Roger Johnson produced an outstanding individual performance at Oakwell.
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If Roger Johnson produces many more performances such as the one he delivered at Oakwell, it surely won’t be long before Sheffield Wednesday look to extend the defender’s loan deal.

The rugged centre-half marshalled the Owls rearguard superbly in their 1-1 draw at neighbours Barnsley.

He won a number of aerial duels, made several timely clearances, positioned himself well throughout and was instrumental in nullifying the threat of Wednesday old boy Chris O’Grady. The only blot on Johnson’s copybook was that he failed to score, from an acute angle, with a header in the first half which would have given the visitors the lead against the run of play.

Wednesday boss Dave Jones described Johnson’s display in the South Yorkshire derby as “immense”. It was arguably the 30-year-old’s best game since swapping Wolverhampton Wanderers for Wednesday in mid-September.

Johnson, who began his career with Wycombe Wanderers, has started the Owls last six matches. His three-month loan stint is set to run out in January.

Jones, who previously signed Johnson when he was in charge at Cardiff City, said the player passed a fitness test on the morning of the televised clash at Barnsley. It was evident in the dying minutes Johnson’s hamstring injury was impeding his movement but he kept on battling to the finish.

“With Roger, you know what you are going to get,” Jones told The Star. “You are going to get full comitment.

“I remember when I had Roger at Cardiff and he got a smack in the throat. Everybody thought he was in serious trouble and thought he had cracked his larynx which is very, very dangerous. He was in hospital for two or three days and he played the following Saturday.

“Roger is just one of those people who will twist his ankle or he will pull something but he will just get on with it and that’s what he did against Barnsley. I thought he was immense [on Saturday] and I’m glad that we’ve got him.”

Johnson is aiming to avoid suffering a fourth consecutive relegation in his career. He was part of the Birmingham City side who went down from the top flight two years ago and then followed that with back-to-back relegations down to League One with his parent club Wolves.

His Wednesday career got off to a rocky start at one of his former clubs as Jones’ men were thrashed 4-1 at St Andrews. Although they have shored things up defensively since then, the Owls have still not recorded a clean sheet or a victory this season.

Jones is likely to keep faith with Johnson and Kamil Zayatte as his centre-back pairing when they entertain Reading on Saturday.