Sheffield Wednesday: Award-winner Dave Jones sets sights on top-two prize

Credit shared: Dave Jones regards his Manager of the Month award as a team effort
Credit shared: Dave Jones regards his Manager of the Month award as a team effort
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OWLS boss Dave Jones has put his Manager of the Month award down to a team effort.

Jones refuses to take all the credit for his brilliant first month in charge which brought five wins and a draw.

“The award reflects the hard work that’s gone in by the players and everybody associated with the club,” he said.

“It will go on my mantelpiece but it’s an achievement for the club.

“It’s nice to have but we are looking for a bigger prize.”

He also pays no regard to the “curse” of the Manager of the Month award, so called because the winner sometimes suffers a defeat in the next game.

“I’ve won it many times, and won, drawn and lost in the next game,” he says.

Wednesday are defending an unbeaten record under him at Huddersfield today (12.30) and have a chance to go back into second place ahead of the afternoon kick-offs, and open up a six-point gap between themselves and the Terriers.

Jones says: “There are four teams going for the top two spots; we’re playing one of them. It’s just a straight shoot-out at the moment.

“These are the games you want to play in, the games that you wish for in your career, because you are at the top end of the table.

“The games that you don’t want are the ones at the bottom of the table.

“When it’s third against fourth you want to make yourselves better and try and get promotion. Your name is up there in the record books if you get promotion.”

Jones feels that his squad can cope with a schedule of two games in less than three days - with the Owls at home to Oldham on Monday (12.45).

“They’re used to it at this level and the Championship, playing many games in a short period of time,” he says.

“You can only assess how they look after the first game, and ask them how they feel, then make your decision (for the second game).”

Keeper Stephen Bywater said: “These two games can breed confidence or be a blow. Whatever happens, there is still a lot to play for and there will be other twists.

“Easter is important but it is not critical. We will still have four matches left. We have to look to ourselves and see what happens to other people. At the moment it is out of our hands but by the end of Easter it could be in our hands.”

Bywater is also encouraged by the return to scoring form of 17-goal Gary Madine: “He is delivering when we needed him to. He has got the talent and he has always had that.

“It is hard when you get an injury half way through the season and it takes time to get back into the swing of things.

“I am glad Gary is scoring because he is a nice bloke. He is buzzing at the moment. Hopefully he can keep the goals coming.”

The keeper is also confident that the team can cope without the suspended Rob Jones: “He is a leader on the pitch. He is a big loss. But Danny (Batth), if he comes in, has played a lot of games and is very experienced, so we know he will do a good job.

“We are lucky we have got someone waiting in the wings who has played a lot of games. It would be hard if we had to put a young kid in who has not played all season.”

* Jose Semedo missed training on Thursday after a bout of sickness and diarrhoea. He wanted to come in but was told to stay away for a day as a precaution against any bug spreading.