Boss Dave Jones has told his Sheffield Wednesday players to “stand up and be counted” following their sluggish start to the season.
Jones apologised to the Owls supporters after Saturday’a 4-1 thrashing at Birmingham City, which was their heaviest defeat of the campaign.
Jesse Lingard, on loan from Manchester United, struck four goals either side of half-time to condemn Wednesday to their first loss in five matches. The Championship strugglers, who are fourth from bottom in the embryonic table, were booed off at half-time by their travelling fans following Lingard’s quickfire treble. The result leaves Wednesday above the relegation zone only on goal difference and they are still searching for their maiden win.
Following their dismal display at St Andrews, Jones is demanding an instant response from his squad, starting at home to South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Rovers this Saturday.
He told The Star: “It [the Doncaster clash] gives us an opportunity to put things right. It will be difficult. One or two are just fighting their games at the moment. They’ve got to get on the ball and do things better than what they are doing.”
“We have got to get a win,” Jones acknowledged. “We are at home so we have got an opportunity.
“You can’t be frightened. You’ve got to stand up and be counted and get on with it. We have got to make sure that we are strong and that the players stand there and put themselves on the line and be big and brave. We will find the players this week that will do that. The ones who don’t want to do it won’t be in the side.”
Jones remains confident he can turnaround their slump in fortunes.
“We are all in it together,” he said. “Everybody should take responsibility.
“We know what we have got to do. We have to find the players who will put their bodies on the line.”
New signings Roger Johnson and Stephen McPhail made their debuts against Birmingham but Jones conceded: “It was hard for them. They must be wondering what’s been going on.
“You’ve got to get Stephen on the ball and we couldn’t get him on it.”