Jones tees up new look to keep Owls on course

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IT’S been a contrast in styles for the Owls on and off the pitch.

Gary Megson would normally yell, gesture and be an animated figure in the technical area.

Even on the coldest days he would sometimes strip off his coat and get down to his shirt sleeves - perhaps because he was so wrapped up in the game.

Dave Jones appears a more studious and stationary figure, equally intent on what is happening on the pitch yet directing operations in a calmer way.

Jones still got his points across - as became clear after he sat down in the press interview room afterwards.

His opening line, said in a slightly hoarse voice, was: “You’ll have to excuse me. I’ve only shouted ‘fore’ for the last six months.”

So, he’s a golfer, and what happened for him on his home debut was equivalent to a hole in one.

It began with him getting a warm, respectful reception from the crowd beforehand.

Then the team improved on last Saturday’s stalemate at Rochdale to record their biggest win of the season and play some entertaining football.

Jones has since thanked the crowd for the welcome he received. He has also shown a touch of humility, praising the players for the way they adapted to the things he asked of them, and saying he takes nothing for granted and was grateful for the night’s outcome because things can so easily go the other way.

If Megson had his critics, they felt that the style of play under him was not attractive enough. Personally, I have no complaints if my team are winning - which under Megson they have done for most of the season.

The style of play in the 4-1 win against Bury on Tuesday was at times more expressive and more pleasing on the eye. But you still have to win as well.

I have never liked to pigeon-hole teams. Rochdale manager John Coleman had a cheek when last week he said the Owls “made Stoke look like Barcelona”.

A times under Megson when the team did not succeed it was more down to not doing the basics well enough - passing, finishing etc - than the style of play.

Inevitably they made the occasional mistakes on Tuesday but on the whole they did much better in the attacking third than in recent weeks, in their passing, crossing and finishing, and the traditional lift that a new manager brings was there for all to see.

All good sides mix up their game. One of the goals against Bury would not have looked out of place if Megson was still boss: a long free-kick to the far post, where the 6ft 7in Rob Jones headed the ball back across goal and it led to Gary Madine scoring.

Jones has made a solid, sensible start, tinkering with the line-up and the way of playing, and encouraging players to be brave on the ball and express themselves, but not making radical changes at this early stage.

He is still making his assessments and getting to the know the players.

As for the players, they seem to have responded well to him, and all in all it has been a fine start by the new manager.