DAVE Jones, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, has challenged his players to not surrender their remarkable unbeaten sequence lightly.
The Owls sealed their place in the third round of the Capital One Cup after a Gary Madine penalty, his first goal of the season, condemned Fulham to a 1-0 defeat in midweek.
The victory means Jones has not tasted defeat in 17 outings since succeeding Gary Megson, racking up 14 wins and three draws.
When Wolves, under Jones astute leadership, gained promotion to the top flight in 2003 via the play-offs, the club went 12 matches without losing. However, Jones has surpassed those achievements at Hillsborough.
But Jones is a grounded individual and the Liverpudlian is refusing to get carried away by Wednesday’s exploits.
“I take nothing for granted, because it has a tendency to kick you in the teeth, big time,” he said. “We’re three games into a league campaign and have had two games in the cup. We’ve just followed on from where we were last year, but we also know there is such a fine line in football. If we don’t keep the workrate and desire and commitment, and the players don’t keep doing what they’re doing, we can get our faces slapped. We’re working for that not to happen. It is a fantastic run and hopefully it will continue.”
Things are on the up at Wednesday and Jones has lifted the gloom.
“There’s a real feelgood factor around the club at the moment,” the Owls chief acknowledged. “If we keep winning, I can keep going to the chairman and getting little things off him - this and that for the training ground, and maybe an extra player.”
Jones shuffled his pack against the Cottagers, handing starts to Daniel Jones, Giles Coke and Chris Maguire, who have been on the periphery of the first-team this season.
“Chris Maguire and Gary Madine worked really hard up front at closing down,” he said. “Daniel Jones came in at left back and slotted in. They’re listening. It just shows you we’ve got good competition. I thought Giles Coke in the middle of the park did really well.
“It’s difficult because if the team is doing well and they’re not playing, they’re the ones who’re the hardest ones to keep happy, but they’re such an important part of the club because what they’ve shown is that if the ones who’ve got the shirts relax, then they’re up for it. That’s what you want.
“The lads who came in showed that they’re working hard in training, they all want to play, they all want to force me to see what they can do, and there’s nothing better than that. They’re a delight to work with, they really are.”
Wednesday have signed Irish starlet Paul Corry from University College Dublin for an undisclosed fee, subject to international clearance. The central midfielder has penned a three-year contract.