Sheffield Wednesday: Skipper hails fit-again Reda

Reda Johnson celebrates his goal against Millwall.
Reda Johnson celebrates his goal against Millwall.
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Owls captain Anthony Gardner has welcomed the return of Reda Johnson as Sheffield Wednesday carry on a hunt for new players and their first win of the season.

Gardner pinpointed Johnson’s goal-scoring comeback as one of the positives of the 2-2 draw with Millwall.

But the skipper admitted that the team need to improve on a “patchy” performance as they head for a trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday before the two-week international break.

Gardner said: “It’s difficult to find any positives (from Saturday’s game). I suppose scoring two goals at home is one, and we’ve got one or two players back; Reda came back and looked in good shape and scored. He’s a big player for us. He’s part of our back-four unit and dangerous at set pieces. It’s always good to have him in the team.”

Lewis Buxton, however, had to stay off at half time in only the second match of his comeback, because of what Gardner described as a “slight niggle”.

Dave Jones said it was a tight hamstring. “That’s always going to be a problem when somebody has been out for a long time and you bring him straight back in,” said the boss. “The best thing is to get him off and not run the risk of him pulling it.”

Jones has admitted that the Owls did not play well.

He still wants three new players and has confirmed that loan striker Andelko Savic, aged 20, from Sampdoria, is earmarked for the development squad in the short term, not the first team.

Of Saturday’s performance, Gardner said: “It was patchy.

“At times we struggled to move the ball well. It was pretty much pretty direct, which wasn’t our game plan.

“It kind of turned into us trying to get it forward as quickly as possible. Therefore they were getting quite a bit of possession, putting us under pressure. We got our noses in front and once you’ve got your noses in front you should be seeing it out.”

He also said: “We’re only four games in. It’s pretty early it would be nice to get a flying start , but it’s not always that way.”