Wood hails Johnson factor

RICHARD Wood says that he can now stop worrying about his form after his display against Everton - and a helping hand from Michael Johnson.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 27th September 2007, 11:19 am
Updated Friday, 28th September 2007, 11:06 am

The 22-year old centre-half and deputy captain sees loan signing Johnson as an example to follow and says: "It's woken me up a bit.

"It's made me realise that what Michael did against Hull last week, I can do. There's no reason why I can't.

"I know I'm a good player. I should have more confidence."

Wood was steady against Hull alongside an outstanding Johnson and then, even without the presence of the new loan star, Wood showed arguably his best form of the season against Everton.

As Wednesday now head for Norwich, the young defender half is confident that he has put a difficult start to the season behind him.

He was a mainstay of last season's great run but, along with several teammates, was unable to hit the same heights in the early part of this season's campaign.

"I haven't been happy with the way I've been playing," he admitted.

"I was inconsistent, not playing as well as I can.

"I was criticising every little part of my game.

"When Johnno came in on Saturday, it helped me a lot to try to play as well as I can.

"Hopefully I can continue from here, now.

"Johnno has been there and done it. He' always talking to me, we're communicating all the time. I think we needed a bit more competition for places as well.

"When players like him and Graham Kavanagh come in, it lifts everybody else.

"I'm pleased with how I performed against Everton. All the lads are confident. You could see that from the way we played."

Wood feels that he was over-analysing his own game during that tough start and that the self-doubt did not help him.

He admitted: "The whole club was down. The lads were nervous. We panicked on the ball.

"The new lads have settled us down. There's no need to be nervous any more. We've got the points on the board. we can go on from here."

Johnson is set to return after being rested for the Everton match. As he is 34 and last week played his first senior game since March, it was felt that putting him through three games in a week was an unnecessary risk.

Tommy Spurr could probably have played, despite having gone off with a dead leg in the Hull match, but boss Brian Laws preferred to give the 20-year-old a break and handed Peter Gilbert his first start since the opening match at Ipswich.

Gilbert now hopes that he has done enough to stay in.

"I want to play. I want to help the team move up the league. I don't want us to be where we are," he said.

"I was asked to play against Everton and was grateful for that; I've put my case forward to the manager.

"It was nice to get a difficult start at Ipswich out of my system. Now we'll see what happens; it's the manager's decision.

"I just do what I can. It's the same for anybody in every position.

"There's no reason why we can't get a good result at Norwich.


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What do you think? Post your comments below. We'll take the game to them, be positive and give it a real good go."

Laws admits, after making five changes for the Everton game: "One or two good performances the other night have certainly given me a few selection problems."

But on the whole it seems likely that he will revert mostly to the line-up that started against Hull.

Laws said: "I can assure the fans that, after getting our first win, there's no way we'll relax.

"We're going to press on the accelerator and try to go up the table. The quicker we can do that, the better, and the supporters will be able to sleep well at nights.

"Norwich have been similar to us in many ways. The pressure is them. They're at home.

"The last thing they probably want is to play a team who want those points just as much as they do."

Meanwhile, former Owls stars Terry Curran, David Hirst, Kevin Pressman and John Sheridan are among a host of personalities taking part in charity match at Millmoor on Sunday (11am) between Mel Sterland's All Stars and John Breckin's All Stars in aid of Elysha Robertson, a Rotherham girl who suffers from a rare illness.

Others include former United aces Tony Currie, Brian Deane, Keith Edwards, Simon Tracey and John Gannon, former Millers manager Ronnie Moore and the current boss, Mark Robins, who also played for Wednesday.

Fans can pay on the gate. Admission costs 5 for adults, 3 for concession, and 13 for a family (two adults and two concessions). THE TEAMS

NORWICH (possible): Marshall; Otsemobor, Doherty, Murray, Lappin or Drury; Croft, Brellier, Russell, Huckerby; Cureton, Brown (4-4-2).

OWLS (possible): Grant; Simek, M Johnson, Wood, Spurr; Watson, Whelan, Kavanagh, Esajas; Burton, Jeffers (4-4-2).