Sheffield Wednesday: Owls strike duo can lead way

Leroy Lita scores on his debut at Charlton - one of five goals that the striker has notched since he was signed on loan from Swansea - and Dave Jones believes that he and Steve Howard offer vital experience

Leroy Lita scores on his debut at Charlton - one of five goals that the striker has notched since he was signed on loan from Swansea - and Dave Jones believes that he and Steve Howard offer vital experience

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Dave Jones is looking to Steve Howard and Leroy Lita to show the way as the Owls set course for Championship survival tomorrow.

The Wednesday manager believes that the experience of the strike pair can be an important aid to the rest of the team.

He also feels that they can set an example on a potentially demanding occasion at Peterborough.

Lita has shown his value already by scoring five goals, including last week’s equaliser against Ipswich.

Howard, who played for most of last week’s game as a sub, has yet to get off the mark but has impressed with some powerful performances.

With Jermaine Johnson likely to be sidelined by his hamstring injury, the two 30-somethings could both start at London Road - though Jones still refuses to rule out JJ.

“Leroy is a goalscorer,” said the Owls boss. “He’s got the experience. I brought in experienced players because I felt that was needed.

“Steve is an old warhorse; he’s been around a long time. He knows what it’s all about.

“When you bring players of their calibre into your club, all the other players who play in their position, especially the younger ones, should watch and learn.”

Gary Madine is in contention as well, after recovering from his hamstring injury, and Chris Maguire will hope for a long-awaited chance in the league starting line-up after playing as sub last week.

Reda Johnson could still be troubled by his ankle problem so Danny Pugh may stay in at left back.

Madine did not figure at all in the Ipswich game, having made his comeback with a 45-minute outing with the Under 21s.

“Gary told the physios he felt a bit stiff on Saturday morning,” said Jones, “Now he’s done a week’s training, which is ideal for us, and he’ll be back in the squad.”

Jones knows that Maguire, who recently scored the winner at Millwall, is eager to make a bigger mark. He played out wide after going on against Ipswich, with JJ having gone off - a position he has filled before, for Derby and Portsmouth.

“Chris has got his head down and worked hard,” added Jones. “He’s growing in maturity. He’ll admit that he wasn’t at his best; if he’s coming into his best at the end of the season, it augurs well for next season.”

Jones expects a stiff challenge from Peterborough, who are above the bottom three only on goal difference and are four points below the Owls.

“They’re fighting for their lives; they’ve been on a fantastic run, like us.

“They will look on this as their opoortunity. They’re at home - it adds more pressure.

“There are three possible scenarios: we could be safe before we kick off; we could sort it out by winning there; or it could go to the last game of the season.”

Giles Coke looks set to play again despite the foot injury that keeps needing pain-killing injections.

“Credit to Cokey for keeping going,” said Jones. “He can’t do any more damage and that’s the reason why he’s not been left out.

“It’s a long season, 46 games plus cup-ties; not everybody is going to be 100 per cent. Some are going to be carrying knocks and bruises.”

If JJ does not make it for tomorrow, Jones says he hopes that he will be available for the final game, against Middlesbrough.

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