Sheffield Wednesday: Jones demands top performance

Miguel Llera looks set to face Huddersfield
Miguel Llera looks set to face Huddersfield
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Dave Jones is too wise to suggest that the Owls will score five goals against Huddersfield like they did against Reading.

But the Owls chief insists that the players must set their sights high and aim for a similarly compelling performance.

Jones views it as another chance to show home fans that the team are capable of high standards at Hillsborough as well as away, where most of the best work this season has come.

The crash at Derby was a strange blip, he hopes, while feeling confident that the attacking flair displayed against Reading can be proved to have been more than a one-off.

So what chances of another crowd-pleasing performance tomorrow? “That’s what we’ll be demanding from the players,” he says.

“They set the tone (with the Reading game). Everybody will want to see that again.

“I still think there’s more to come from them. Players need to do a bit better and work at their game, and that’s what we keep drumming into them.

“We’ve played games away that have been up there, but we haven’t got the reward of a win.

“The benchmark was set in the first game of the season, at QPR; we played so well but didn’t get the victory.

“So the players know what we’re capable of. They showed that again, against Reading, so the home fans saw what we’re capable of, as well.

“The away fans had probably seen the best of us.” Jones makes the point that different opposition tomorrow means different challenges - and that the team failed in too many respects at Derby.

“Two weeks ago we didn’t compete. We didn’t win personal battles around the pitch, so there was only ever going to be one winner, unless you’re a very lucky team.

“Again Reading, we probably won 80 to 90 per cent of the battles around the pitch. That’s what got us the result.”

Jones also believes that the Hillsborough crowd can play their part as they did two weeks ago:

“What I always want from the fans is what we get, week in, week out: when we played Reading they were our extra man.

“There will be a lot of noise, a lot of rivalry. There’s a lot at stake, not just points but bragging rights. Everybody knows that. I just want the fans to keep behind the players, and since I walked in they have always done that.

“Derby games are always tight and have a high tempo. It takes abit of time to settle down.

“It’s going to be a tough game, as they all are for us. We know what we have to do.”

Jones admitted that Miguel Llera is the “obvious” one to come in if Kamil Zayatte is ruled out by the ankle injury he suffered in training.

Zayatte has not been at his best recently so fans will not be concerned about this change. It would be only a fifth start of the season for Llera, who has had ups and downs of his own but is remembered for the free kick that put the Owls on the way to an important 2-0 win at Huddersfield in the promotion run-in of two seasons ago.

Jones has once again praised Damian Martinez - raising once again the issue of whether one day he will actually leave out Chris Kirkland.

Said the manager: “Damian is doing exceptionally well; he’s a talented goalkeeper and Arsenal think very highly of him.

“When the opportunity arises for him, he has to take it. I know when it will be.”

Maybe that chance will come during this coming period of 10 games in 39 days.