SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: There’s no rest in a busy summer for boss Jones

editorial image
0
Have your say

IT’S that time of year when people ask me: “What do you do in summer?”

The answer is always: “Write about football.”

There may be no matches on Saturdays (unless your season is extended into the play-offs) but apart from that the game never goes away.

At Hillsborough, the euphoria of promotion has been replaced by the summer slog to bring in new players.

Whenever a club have gone up, invariably the old saying “there’s no sentiment in football” comes to mind sooner or later.

Managers usually decide that the squad that won promotion is not strong enough to thrive at the next level, and Dave Jones will be no different in that respect.

Deals for Oldham right-back Kieran Lee and Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland are likely to be only the first of many this summer.

There are gaps in the squad to fill anyway after the release of Richard O’Donnell, Chris Sedgwick, Jon Otsemobor and Clinton Morrison, and four of the promotion side were on loan: Nile Ranger, Danny Batth, Michail Antonio and Keith Treacy.

It is hard to see Kirkland not becoming first-choice keeper, so long as he shows in pre-season the ability that made him a Premier League player and England international, and with Jones regarding his signing as a “fantastic coup” for the club.

No manager will ever say a new signing is certain to be in his team next season, and you really do need a squad rather than an 11, but equally a boss will have in mind what is going to happen if players perform to the level that he expects.

Clearly the fact the Owls were still negotiating with Stephen Bywater did not deter Jones from going for the best he possibly could get to strengthen the goalkeeping department, with a signing needed in view of O’Donnell’s exit and the fact that Bywater and Arron Jameson were out of contract.

If Bywater re-signs, after the Kirkland deal, then where does that leave Nicky Weaver? It is not easy to answer that question at the moment.

However it does seem obvious that Danny Batth has played his last game for the club.

The 21-year-old Batth did a fine job last season in League One - his first full season in league football. He enjoyed it, the club appreciated his efforts, and now he wants to try for selection under new Wolves manager Stale Solbakken.

I believe it is very likely that the Owls already had other, probably more experienced, targets in mind.

Wednesday could be signing more than one centre half. Mark Beevers’ future is unclear, with his contract expiring this summer, though he has expressed a wish to stay. Rob Jones and Miguel Llera are the only under-contract senior centre-halves, assuming that Reda Johnson is regarded as more of a left-back these days.

Dave Jones knows a thing or two about defending: he was a centre-half at the top level with Everton and could play left-back or right-back.

I understand that the names and events to have surfaced so far in relation to the Owls team-building efforts represent only a small amount of the work that is going on behind the scenes.

If someone was to ask Dave Jones what he does during the summer, maybe he could reply that he is just as busy as he is for the rest of the year.