JERMAINE Johnson’s hot-shot form has strengthened his desire to earn a new Hillsborough contract.
The speedy winger who has hit three brilliant goals in the last five games is determined to do all he can to stay.
He had a spell out of the side and had manager Gary Megson demanding more consistency from him but the 31-year-old has bounced back in style and is enjoying life as he prepares to face Blackpool in tonight’s FA Cup replay.
“I’m really pleased with the way I’m playing,” he said.
“I just need to keep playing the same way and get more goals for the team. My training is going really well; I feel much fitter than before.
“The gaffer has given me more chances, more confidence, and it has helped me play much better.”
Johnson says he has absorbed the message from Megson that he must attend to his workrate and to his defensive responsibilities at certain times in a game. He has worked on his defending.
The former Bolton and Oldham wide man says he has enjoyed his time with Wednesday more than his spells with his previous clubs and it would be a “pleasure” to be given a new contract:
“The city is a good place for me and my Jamaican friends. I got used to the club, and the fans are really good; they always give me encouragement, and they are always behind us all the time, even when we are losing,” he said.
“I don’t see myself playing in front of 5,000. I see myself at Sheffield Wednesday for a long time, if the gaffer wants to give me a new contract.
“I’m enjoying my football big time. I just need to stay fit, keep working and hopefully I’ll stay at Wednesday.”
Johnson also says he has overcome personal problems: “They affected me big time; plus I wasn’t playing, so it was bad for me. Now I am back with a good mindset - everything is behind me and I’m really happy with my form.”
His thoughts are also with his family, who are in his native Jamaica.
“I have my family back in Jamaica. I need to help them big time and I’m the only one in the family who is doing something special that I really love,” he said.
“ I really need to keep focusing on what I’m doing and do my best all the time so that can get a new contract.”
He prefers not to go into details about off-field issues: “I keep my stuff to myself and try to work it out on my own.
“My family are back home since December; that’s a big problem as well for me.”
On the field, opposition teams have been finding him hard to handle.
Boss Gary Megson said: “His last three goals have been goal-of-the-month contenders. Some people were criticisng me for giving JJ another year’s contract (last summer). I wouldn’t think they’re doing it now.
“Since he’s got back in the side, he’s done really well.
“It looks as if he’s taking more responsibilty. That consistency has been creeping in. these last few games. Hopefully he can keep that going.”
Megson added: “Nobody will be signing a new deal between now and the end of the season, because I’d love to be in a position where we’re at a higher level.
“It’s not even been discussed. Players sign a contract June to June, and you cope with it as and when.”
Teams and ref
OWLS (possible): Bywater, Otsemobor, Batth, R Jones, R Johnson, J Johnson, Prutton, Lines, Sedgwick, Lowe, Morrison (4-4-2).
SEASIDERS (possible): Gilks, Eardley, Wilson, Cathcart, Harris, Martinez, Southern, Sylvestre, LuaLua, K Phillips, Ince (4-3-3).
ANDY D’URSO (Essex): Owls games under him since Gary Megson became manager were the 2-1 defeat by Exeter in the last game of last season and the 0-0 draw with Brentford in November. His record this season is 35 games, 92 bookings and six sendings-off.