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Paul Thompson: Owls boss Jones faces tough task

Window pain: Ex loanee Keith Treacy came back to haunt the Owls.

Window pain: Ex loanee Keith Treacy came back to haunt the Owls.

JANUARY represents a window of opportunity for Wednesday but the last two years show that the month does not necessaruily shine brilliant light on the season even if new signings come in.

Five new players were signed in January, 2011: Reda Johnson, Michael Morrison, Mark Reynolds, Gary Madine and, on loan, Isaiah Osbourne. It did not prevent a poor run and the sacking, in early February, of Alan Irvine, followed by the arrival of Gary Megson to do a revival job.

A year ago, Stephen Bywater, Miguel Llera and Mike Jones were signed, and Michael Bostock borrowed, while the loans of Ben Marshall and James Tavernier were ended.

The loss of Marshall was a blow, again the Owls suffered a lean run and this time it was Megson who went in February, though at the end of the month. Nevertheless, Dave Jones led the club to promotion.

I’m not saying that what happened previously means that Jones’s position is in danger - just pointing out that January brings no guarantees of success in the transfer market or on the field.

Jones has already injected realism into the situation by indicating there is no transfer pot of gold, fees are inflated at this time of year anyway, perhaps loan signings are likelier than full ones, and while he has a list of targets, the same players will be on the lists of other clubs.

It was a good point when he said that while it may be easy for him or others to identify players who could do a good job, it may not be possible to get them.

However, last season he also proved his ability to make canny signings when he brought in Nile Ranger and Keith Treacy.

Jay Bothroyd appeared to be another in that category when he arrived this season but his return to QPR this week came as no surprise, with the loan move not having worked out as well as everyone wanted.

Wouldn’t you just know that Treacy, whom the Owls could not afford to sign fully in the summer, would pop up with a vital goal on his return to Hillsborough with Burnley?

There seems to have been fair bit of gloom among fans in view of the performance and result on New Year’s Day.

Was it the team falling back into shortcomings, or did the busy spell of four games in 11 days have an adverse effect? Burnley seemed okay but maybe they let the ball do the work to a greater degree than the Owls.

Although the Clarets were on the whole the better side, the game showed once again how fine the line between success and failure can be. At half time, I still fancied Wednesday to nick something, perhaps with a set-piece or with a telling ball into the box; if they had scored just after half time, when they had a couple of chances, it could have been a different game.

After seeing Treacy’s strike again on TV, I am still wondering why Chris Kirkland, who made two other good saves, made no real attempt to stop it.

All that does not disguise the fact that the team still needs strengthening to boost the fight for survival.

 

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