GARY Megson is looking for improvements from back to front when his Wednesday side take on fourth placed Southampton tomorrow.
New loan signings Rob Jones and Danny Batth are set to form a new centre-back partnership, and the Owls boss has confirmed that Paul Heffernan is in line for a recall up front.
Right-back Jon Otsemobor returned to full training yesterday. Tomorrow’s televised encounter comes too early for him but it would be no surprise if there are other changes after the 4-1 defeat by Peterborough as Megson bids to end the leaking of goals.
The new players are earmarked for key roles not just at St Mary’s but for the rest of the season.
Jones is left-footed and is set to take the spot vacated by Mark Beevers, who will have an operation on Monday and may well miss the rest of the season. The surgeon will decide during the surgery whether or not to insert a metal plate into his damaged cheekbone.
Batth would take over the right-side centre-half berth, which would appear to mean Michael Morrison moving and possibly competing for the right-back slot, unless Megson opts to use three centre-backs.
Heffernan could partner Gary Madine in a switch to 4-4-2, rather than the 4-5-1 system used in most of the recent games.
Jones’ qualities are obvious, He is an experienced 31-year-old, and has used his defensive know-how and 6ft 7in frame to good effect against Wednesday for Scunthorpe.
Batth, 20, is relatively inexperienced and is regarded even by Megson as “more about potential”.
But Wolves manager Mick McCarthy and chief executive Jez Moxey, who both spoke to Megson, have sanctioned the deal on the understanding that Batth plays and is not at Hillsborough just to provide cover.
Megson said: “Danny is a
youngster but highly regarded; Wolves have just signed him to a four-year deal. He was going to go to another League One club [on loan] but we got in at the last second. I’m really pleased that he’s here.
“We were trying to bring Rob in a few weeks ago. Then Mark Beevers started to look a bit more like it.
“We didn’t want to do it just for the sake of it. We were were still going to trying and do it.” But Beevers’ injury
made it “more important” that Jones was signed.
Megson added: “Rob is 6ft 7in, Danny is 6ft 3in, But they’ve not been brought in just for that.
“Rob talks, he organises. Danny is more about potential. He’s here to become a better player. I’m sure he’ll enjoy his time here, but you have to win games to enjoy them,
”I spoke to Mick and Jez at Wolves. They want him to play. He will play. But like everybody else he’ll be judged on what he does.”
Heffernan has forced his way into the side with his lively show and goal as a sub against Peterborough.
Megson said: “He played with a a lot of zip, pace and desire. I thought he stood out.
“He got hold of the ball and gave us a bit of movement. His link-up play was good.”
Batth was recalled early by Wolves from a pre-Christmas loan spell at Sheffield United, after making one appearance as a sub. He said: “To be back here with Sheffield Wednesday is great.The gaffer has got a lot of hope for this place and says the fans are right behind us.”
SAINTS (possible): Davis, Butterfield, Fonte, Jaidi, Harding, Chamberlain, Chaplow, Hammond, Lallana, Barnard, Lambert (4-4-2).
OWLS (possible): Weaver, Hinds or M Morrison, Batth, R Jones, Reynolds, J Johnson, Miller, Osbourne, Teale, Madine, Heffernan (4-4-2).
Darren Deadman (Peterborough): Came under fire from Leeds after their 0-0 home draw with Ipswich last Saturday. “We were frustrated by a few of the decisions,”said Simon Grayson.