Sheffield Wednesday: Owls’ anxious wait as JJ may play for Jamaica

Jermaine Johnson may play for Jamaica in the World Cup in midweek
Jermaine Johnson may play for Jamaica in the World Cup in midweek
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JERMAINE Johnson came through the first part of his international duty unscathed - now Dave Jones is keeping his fingers crossed that the Owls forward completes his Jamaica adventure without mishap.

Johnson played only as a sub in his country’s 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with Panama in Kingston.

The squad then flew to Costa Rica on Saturday to begin preparations for tomorrow’s qualifier against Costa Rica in San Jose.

The fact that the Reggae Boyz dropped points against Panama and were dissatisfied with their performance could increase JJ’s chance of starting tomorrow.

That could fuel any worries that his club manager may have about him not coming back in ideal shape from his travels ahead of Saturday’s big game against Barnsley at Hillsborough.

But JJ has certainly fared better than Watford’s ex-Sheffield United defender Nyron Nosworthy, who was involved in a big controversy in the Owls’ defeat at Vicarage Road this month.

Nosworthy went off in first-half stoppage time of Jamaica’s game, and sources in the country’s capital say that he has ruptured his Achilles tendon - a serious injury and a blow to Watford’s promotion hopes.

The Hornets have yet to confirm it.

Nosworthy was the opponent whose arm was hit by a header from Lewis Buxton - with Wednedsday claiming that they should have had a crucial penalty or a goal as the ball also crossed the line.

It is not a certainty that Johnson will replace the injured Michail Antonio on Saturday, especially with Jones exploring the loan market before Thursday’s deadline, but he currently looks a major option.

JJ is said to have livened up Jamaica’s attack against Panama, three times dribbling half the length of the pitch, after he replaced Reading’s Jobi McAnuff.

Johnson lost his Jamaica starting role after playing in the previous qualifier - a shock 0-0 draw with Mexico in the Azteca Stadium.

The Reggae Boys were favourites to beat Panama and took the lead through Bristol City’s Marvin Elliott.

Coach Theo Whitmore admitted: “The guys are a bit disappointed.

“When playing at home, we expect three points. Due to the performance, they didn’t get that, so they’re a bit down. Probably it didn’t work out for us for a number of reasons, but we just have to go back and look at the tape and see where we went wrong and move on.”

Jamaica are joint second in their qualifying group, two points behind leaders Honduras. The USA are in the same group.

Wednesday will also be keeping an eye on events in Scotland.

Midfield man Rhys McCabe is in the Under-21 squad for a European Championship qualifier against Luxembourg scheduled to take place tonight, 7.30pm, at St Mirren, which is in Paisley, close to Glasgow.

It is the first game for the Scots in their campaign to reach the Under-21 finals in the Czech Republic in 2015.

Midfield is less of a pressing issue for the Owls, compared to the gaps in the forward department left by Connor Wickham and Antonio, but Jones is keen to avoid further injuries, especially as David Prutton will be banned for three games if he picks up one more booking between now and the end of the season.

Wickham, who was recalled by Sunderland, is in the England Under 21 squad to face Austria at Brighton tonight after playing as a late sub in last week’s 3-0 win against Romania at Wycombe.

Stuart Pearces’s side are unbeaten in eight games over the last 16 months and have not conceded a goal.

Owls goalkeeper Cameron Dawson has been in action for England Under-19s: he went on as a 75th minute sub for Sunderland’s Jason Pickford in a 1-0 win against Turkey at Telford.

Wednesday Under-21s’ twice-postponed Hillsborough match against Leeds has been rearranged for Thursday, April 25, 7pm.