Sheffield Wednesday: Jones ignores form book

In contention: Stuart Holden could return to the side after being left out of the award-winning victory at Millwall. Picture: Steve ellis
In contention: Stuart Holden could return to the side after being left out of the award-winning victory at Millwall. Picture: Steve ellis
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DAVE Jones sought to take advantage of Blackburn Rovers’ turmoil.

It also seemed to be a good time to play Millwall, just before their FA Cup semi-final against Wigan.

Wednesday won each of these last two games.

Now they face opposition who have lost their last four matches and have sunk in the Championship table.

But what sets tomorrow’s contest against Leeds apart, in Jones’ view, is the fact that it is a Yorkshire derby.

“Form goes out of the window,” says the Owls manager.

“They have good players. They were flying at the start of the season; they seem to have hit a buffer, but I’m sure they’ll want to finish on a high, just like we do.

“Whatever they throw at us, we’ll have to deal with it; we will do that.”

Caretaker manager Neil Redfearn has been in charge since the club parted company with Neil Warnock at Easter.

In the build-up to tomorrow’s game Jones was aware of Brian McDermott being linked with the job and of the possibility that a new manager could be appointed before the derby, which would leave players striving to impress him.

“This is a derby, and a big one; for a game like this is doesn’t matter whether a new manager is in place or not, because everybody will be fired up,” he said. “We’ll have a lot of fans there, and so will they.”

Jones will make further fitness checks on Reda Johnson, Jermaine Johnson and Giles Coke before firming up his starting 11.

Stuart Holden could come back into the side, especially if Coke is not fit, having been left out of the Millwall match because only five loan players can be used and the Owls have six.

That problem is solved for tomorrow’s game as Danny Pugh is on loan from Leeds so cannot play - all the more reason why Jones will want Reda Johnson fit after Pugh played at left back on Tuesday.

The claims of David Prutton, a former Leeds player, for a centre-midfield place cannot be ignored. He played in the 2-1 win at Millwall.

It seems likely that JJ will figure tomorrow, after being on the bench at the New Den, perhaps in the striker role where he starred against Blackburn, which would probably mean Steve Howard and Leroy Lita competing for the place alongside him.

But Jones has also offered some encouragement to match-winner Chris Maguire, saying: “Chrissie has worked his socks off and got his reward with the goal the other night. He comes into the reckoning like everybody else.”

Gary Madine is not considered to be ready yet after his hamstring injury.

Former Owls loan striker Luke Varney was on the bench for Leeds’ last game, a 2-1 defeat at Charlton last Saturday. Ex-United midfielder Michael Brown is serving a two-match ban for 10 bookings.

In Leeds’ previous three matches, they lost 2-1 at home to Huddersfield, 3-0 at Ipswich and 2-1 at home to Derby, after which Warnock left.

Before the losing run they drew three in a row. So their last win was 1-0 at home to Millwall.

The Owls’ win at Millwall has been voted the Performance of the week by the League Managers Association panel of Howard Wilkinson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Joe Royle, Dave Bassett and Barry Fry. An engraved crystal football will be presented to Dave Jones.