Owls look within for new Marshall

In the frame: Jermaine Johnson
In the frame: Jermaine Johnson
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GARY Megson has outlined his options as he ponders life without Ben Marshall.

When asked what he thought his choices were to fill the left-wing vacancy against Hartlepool tomorrow, the Owls manager replied: “You look at people who have played there before, and that’s where the answer is going to come from, if there is an answer.

“It’s Jermaine Johnson, Daniel Jones, Julian Bennett, Chris Sedgwick, David Prutton.

“But there isn’t a like for like in the club.”

Bennett played left-side midfield against West Ham and is feeling a shoulder problem suffered in that FA Cup tie, though the facial injury he received then has healed.

Megson feels that if Marshall does not come back from Stoke then he will be hard to replace, in the long term and short term - as he found when trying unsuccessfully this week for five loan winger targets.

Jermaine Johnson, who was not in the 16 against Charlton, offers pace and unpredictability.

Daniel Jones, like Bennett, is mainly a left-back but one who can get forward.

Sedgwick is more of a natural wide midfielder who can play on either side, Prutton more of a central midfield man who would be more out of position on the left, as he was in a recent brief spell on the right flank.

A switch to the left for Mike Jones, who made his debut against Charlton on the opposite side, cannot be ruled out - which would mean a job on the right for one of the other midfield men.

Mike Jones, though basically a right-side player, is seen by himself and others as someone who can play anywhere across midfield.

Liam Palmer

has established something of the same reputation.

Megson says: “Liam is a talented lad. In training [on Thursday] he was fantastic. I’ve seen him quite a lot of times not do at Hillsborough what he does on the training ground.

“I know he’s a young lad but this is a big boys’ club. We’re not in a position to

bring people on over a course of years. You have to hit the ground running.

“That’s not just Liam - he’s only young - it’s everybody: frees, loans, moneys, whatever. You have to deliver at Wednesday.”

Megson expects a reaction from the team to last week’s home defeat: “We have a great deal of character and drive. We weren’t found wanting in that respect against Charlton. We didn’t play well enough.

“There’s always going to be a response, because the players have a great deal of pride. It hurts to get beaten at home. It was a really sombre dressing room afterwards, but we’ve got characters in the dressing room.”

Charlton captain and match-winner Johnnie Jackson said playing at Hillsborough brought out the best in the leaders - and Megson feels Hartlepool too will be inspired.

Megson added: “It doesn’t matter who Hartlepool have got because you can guarantee they’ll all play 10 per cent better.

“With all due respect to Hartlepool, I don’t think they have a team full of individual stars, but they have players who work hard, are honest and have a real good go. That said, we’re at home with that support behind us, and we have to use it to our advantage.”

Teams and ref

OWLS (possible): Weaver, Otsemobor, Batth, R Jones, R Johnson, M Jones, Lines, Semedo, J Johnson, O’Grady, Madine (4-4-2).

POOLS (possible): Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Murray, Baldwin, Liddle, Sweeney, Monkhouse, James (4-5-1).

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey). The last time he took a Wednesday game, the Owls beat Hartlepool 2-0, at Hillsborough on April 16. His record this season is 23 games, 72 yellow cards and five reds.