SHEFFIELD Wednesday stars are facing a fight - and not just the one against teams aiming to stunt their Championship progress.
Dave Jones has spotlighted the way that his players are competing against each other for places in his unbeaten side.
Jones believes rivalry is helping get the best out of in-form Jermaine Johnson and cites Chris O’Grady, who has kept Gary Madine out of the League team, as an example of someone who has proved himself to be up for the battle.
“JJ has done really well; he knows that if he doesn’t do it then there is somebody else there quite eager to take his place,” said Jones.
“You’re looking for competition for places all the time. Chris O’Grady has worked his socks off during pre-season and everything else.
“He hasn’t moaned. He was left out at first, but because he has worked with the group he has benefitted; he has been ready physically and mentally.”
O’Grady was called into the starting line-up after his two-goal performance as a sub in the cup- ie at Oldham, where Gary Madine had to go off in the first half. Madine, last season’s top scorer, has since been on the bench.
Jones explained: “I just thought Chris had done really well, deserved his chance and scored goals.
“I don’t think Gary has played 90 minutes through pre-season. He’s playing catch-up.
“Maybe for players who have been stars of the team, competition now comes into play.
“Players know they’re in a fight. I honestly believe that’s the best way to be; it gives you the edge.
“I’ve just watched a training session and it was superb. They’re all buzzing and flying and why? Because some are chasing the ones who’ve got the shirts at the moment, and the ones who’ve got the shirts have got to hang on to them, and the only way you do that is by playing well.”