STEPHEN Bywater has given the thumbs-up to boss Dave Jones and new coach Terry Burton and believes that the Owls can still achieve automatic promotion.
The keeper spent the final two months of last season on loan at Cardiff and helped Jones’s outfit reach the Championship play-offs.
Now Bywater believes there are exciting times ahead for Wednesday as they approach the last 12 games of the season, and looks back at the managerial change by saying “anything can happen in football”.
“We’ve got a new manager who I’ve worked with before, I worked with his assistant before, and the training sessions are good and he does get the best out of players,” said the keeper, who, when he was a youngster, also had a spell on loan at Wolves under Jones.
“Hopefully the new manager will bring the same enthusiasm and discipline that he had when I was at Cardiff. They had a good way of playing and hopefully he’ll bring it to Sheffield Wednesday. It’s exciting times. The lads are motivated and enjoying themselves. “
Bywater said of Jones: “He could be your friend, he could be your enemy, he could be anything, but his door is always open. You can speak to him man to man.
“When he means business, he tells you what he wants and you’ve got to do it. That’s how managers should be.
“I, like everyone else, welcome everything he brings to the table. You have to be open minded in football. We have to trust him. I do. I hope the other lads trust his decision making. It’s a good time.
“There will be players who are sad (at Gary Megson’s departure), players who don’t care and players who get on with the job. I’m one of those who carries on doing his best for whoever is gaffer and that’s the way it should be.
“The gaffer (Jones) is open, honest. He likes to play. He likes to mix things. He’s a good guy. He’s had promotion to the Premier League; he’s a very good manager.
“I think there will be a lot of twists and turns in the season. Sheffield United were two up against Oldham and lost. Who would have expected that? We have to go about our business and I believe we can still get the second spot.”
Bywater said he hopes Jones gets a good reception from fans tonight: “He deserves it. Look at his record and the kind of man he is.”
The keeper also rates new coach Burton: ”Terry does a lot of work. He’s a very clever man. He does the training sessions and gets them across to the lads; he does a lot on the pitch with the players, on defending and attacking. He’s a bit more reserved than the manager. The gaffer can let fly!”
Bywater also welcomed the news that Chris Evans is staying as assistant manager along with coaches Neil Thompson and Andy Rhodes.
“I’m pleased...they’re good to work with,” he said. “If the manager wants to change things, that’s life. I’ve worked with the manager and the staff he had at Cardiff. They were good. It’s business. We’re not in it to make friends, are we?”
Teams and ref
OWLS (possible): Bywater, Buxton, Batth, R Jones, Bennett, Antonio, Semedo, Lines, Prutton, Madine, O’Grady (4-4-2).
BURY (possible): Carson, Picken, Hughes, Eastham, Skarz, Schumacher, Carrington, Sweeney, Amoo, Bishop, Worrall (4-5-1).
Mick Russell (Hertfordshire): Clearly has a sense of humour. Once when a linesman flagged and told Russell he had been hit on the leg by a pie, the ref asked: “Was it chicken and mushroom or steak and kidney?”
One to watch
Midfield player Peter Sweeney was one of the architects of Bury’s 2-1 win against the Owls in August. Formerly with Millwall, Stoke, Leeds and Grimsby, the 27-year-old has a useful left foot and is adept at delivering corners and free-kicks.
Ryan Lowe gave Bury an early lead at Gigg Lane in August and the Owls lost 2-1 despite a fine goal by Chris Sedgwick. The record in league and cup meetings between the clubs is 35 wins for the Owls, 26 for the Shakers, and 16 draws.