SHEFFIELD Wednesday’s team-building is being aided by a man described by Dave Jones as “having a very good eye for a player”.
He is Paul Wilkinson, previously best known as a striker with Barnsley, Middlesbrough and Grismby, but now a key member of Jones’ backroom staff with his duties in coaching and recruitment.
Wilkinson’s aim is to go one better with Wednesday after he, Jones and assistant manager Terry Burton narrowly missed promotion to the Premier League with Cardiff.
“We had a lot of good times without quite getting to the pinnacle, which we were all determined to do, and it’s something we’d like to do here,” the 47-year-old told The Star.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t happen for you. But we were always challenging: we got into the play-offs (twice) and we reached the FA Cup final. “Promotion with Wednesday is fantastic. We were lucky because we came in at the back end of it. But it still had to be achieved.
“The players responded in the way we asked; we kept putting pressure on Sheffield United and making it difficult for them, and when they dipped, we were there to take advantage. It’s not easy to do that.
“It came down to us being able to make sure if we won on the last day, and that last day was terrific. Promotion was a great achievement by the players.”
Now it is on to the next step for the Owls staff, as the club revamp the squad, and with Wilkinson aiding the recruitment of young players and more senior ones, and with him and other staff trying to improve players’ game on the coaching pitch in future.
Jones said: “Wilko is going to see to the recruitment and scouting side of things, and tie that up with coaching as well.
“He has a very good eye for a player. Looking at the staff we have: me, Wilko, Terry Burton, Neil Thompson and Andy Rhodes, we all work well together.”
Cardiff produced several outstanding youngsters during Jones’s time there.
“There was Joe Ledley, Darcy Blake, Chris Gunter, Aaron Ramsey,” says Wilkinson, who also lured Cameron Jerome from Middlesbrough to Wales:
“I invited him to Cardiff; after that he was great and he earned himself a really good career, which he deserved.
“While the main thing is the first-team squad, kids matter as well, and we’ll do anything we can to help Sean McAuley (academy manager).”
* Wednesday target Chris Maguire of Derby County spent three months in 2010 on loan from Aberdeen to Kilmarnock, who will play the Owls in a friendly on August 8,