DAVE Jones wants to build Sheffield Wednesday’s future by putting the club in the best possible position to attract the most talented young players.
The Owls boss takes pride in his work away from first-team matters and wants to make the academy under the leadership of Sean McAuley one of the best in the north of England.
He told The Star: “This is what I do. I’m a builder of football clubs so I’ll look at everything to make us better.
“I’ll be giving Sean all the support I can. It’s important to me to build this football club but we’re all in it together - me, Terry (assistant manager Terry Burton), Tommo (first-team coach Neil Thompson) and Rhodesy (goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes). All I will be doing is providing the support to Sean to follow the plan we put together. It’s his baby and he’ll be getting all the help I can give.”
McAuley is well respected at Hillsborough. He was appointed Owls academy manager in 2006 after stepping up from his previous role as assistant manager for the club’s nine-16 age groups.
There’s a feeling that Wednesday can capitalise on promotion from League One back into the Championship to rejuvenate all areas of the club.
However, success in other departments primarily stems from the first team doing well. Jones won’t take his eye of the most important matters but Wednesday have a manager who recognises the size of the club and can see the potential it has if everything is all moving in a forward direction.
It isn’t as if the Owls are short of youngsters wanting to pull on the blue and white stripes.
While the grass training pitches at Middlewood Road were laid bare ready for their annual reseeding and attention from the club’s excellent ground staff, hundreds of children - the majority in Wednesday or England shirts - were taking part in the half -erm coaching camp on the astroturf and in the dome.
Jones played a key role in the development of his previous club’s - Cardiff City - youth academy.
He’s admitted previously that he was helped by the fact that the Bluebirds were the only club in South Wales to have academy status but said the it was no fluke that young players were coming through into the first-team squad.
He told Radio Sheffield: “I’ve been fortunate at Cardiff when we had one or two coming through each year.
“That was down to the system and the way we trained the players. The parents were happy with that.
“When you look at what Sheffield United have built with their academy it is fantastic. We’re looking for a new place to build new pitches.”
Meanwhile the heavy rain of Sunday night may hamper preparations of the Hillsborough pitch for the new season.
Parts of the surrounding area were under water and the club confirmed to The Star that the pitch had been affected.
However, stadium manager John Rutherford said it wasn’t as serious an event as the Sheffield floods of 2007 which caused widespread damage to not only the pitch but also the club’s ticket office and superstore.
“The big difference in 2007 was that the water came from the river and deposited contaminants on the pitch,” he said.
“As this was rain water there are no contaminants.
“It will have some impact on pitch preparation in that the new pitch had just grown through from seed and some areas may need re-seeding, meaning a slight delay in growing the new pitch.”