SOME may assume that Dave Jones has enough selection headaches already.
But while the Wednesday manager is pleased with his options, he would have liked even more.
Ideally Nile Ranger and Keith Treacy - both in contention for home debuts against Preston - would not have been his only signings before the loan deadline.
Jones is also sticking by his policy of freshening up the team when he sees fit and he is not ruling out more changes tomorrow though the Owls won at Leyton Orient last week after showing four alterations to the starting line-up.
“I would have brought in even more players but we couldn’t get them,” he says.
“That’s not because I’m not happy with what’s here; it’s because I want to add to it and make us stronger.”
He has to decide whether to start with Treacy, but if he did then presumably that would mean Michail Antonio or Jermaine Johnson being left out.
Up front, Ranger competes for a place with Gary Madine, Ryan Lowe and Chris O’Grady, who was recalled alongside Madine last week but made way for Ranger in the second half.At the back, Danny Batth is fit, which seems to mean achoice between him and Miguel Llera.
Jones says thestriker department is not the only one under scrutinty: “I might change the back, I might change the midfield. When you have a strong squad, it helps to mix it
Jones went with the same side for four games ...”out of necessity for me to have a look at what we had,” he says. “But then when I see the training and everything else, and see players can play in other positions, I just I needed to freshen it up.
“I might freshen it up and make another four changes. I haven’t decided on that yet. I’ll have a look in training and see what the lads are like.
“Lads like Lowey (Ryan Lowe) and Mike Jones haven’t done anything wrong; they were getting good results, but you use the squad to the best of your ability and keep all the players chomping at the bit.
“The players who came in last Saturday were certainly doing that. When you have players who want to play for you, that’s a great thing for a manager; it means they’re looking forward to putting the shirt on and trying to get the points.
“When they’re all up for it and I’ve got a full squad to choose from, it’s great. The hardest job for me is not picking a team, it’s leaving people on the bench and in the stand.
“That’s when players aren’t happy. If players were happy they weren’t playing, I’d get shut of them. Never mind competition in games; you need competition in here, then you’ve got the players playing to the best of their ability.
“I want players who
aren’t playing to be angry, but in a professional way. My door is always open. They can come and ask me why. I’ll give them the reason. I’ll never satisfy them. The day they are satisfied, that’s when I’ll move them out. I’ve never found the right way to tell a player he’s not playing.”
Jones says it is a “delight” to work with the players in training because they are going at full pelt.
“They train hard, They enjoy it. It’s good when there’s a satisfaction about what we have have done, and with the quality as well, when they have enjoyed what we have put on and have tried their best to do it.”
Teams and ref
OWLS (possible): Bywater; Buxton, Batth or Llera, R Jones, R Johnson; Antonio. Lines, Semedo, J Johnson; Ranger, Madine (4-4-2).
PRESTON (possible): Stuckmann; Hunt, Robertson, Ehmer, Wright; Holroyd, Coutts, Procter, Parry; Hume, Aneke (4-4-2).
Geoff Eltringham (Sunderland): Sent off Notts County captain Neil Bishop in Sheffield United’s 5-2 win at Meadow Lane on March 20, and his last game was Coventry’s 2-0 home win against Portsmouth last Saturday. His record this season is 33 games, 77 yellow cards and five reds.
One to watch
Iain Hume is Preston’s joint top scorer with Neil Mellor on nine goals though he, like Mellor, has had injury problems this season. Hume went off early in the home game against Wednesday after pulling his hamstring. He got both goals in a 2-1 win at Exeter on March 17.
Wednesday’s 2-0 victory at Deepdale on New Year’s Eve narrowed the gap between them and Preston in the record of league and cup meetings between the clubs. It is now 38 wins to the Owls, 40 to the Lilywhitese, and 23 draws, in a rivalry dating back to 1888.