WEDNESDAY manager Dave Jones has cleared Nejc Pecnik of blame after the Slovenia international’s first taste of English discipline.
Fans may have wondered about the new signing’s temperament after he was booked for time-wasting in the Capital One Cup tie at Oldham and seemingly ordered by the referee to keep quiet.
But Jones has explained that the forward was only acting under orders, and has told of his own anger on the touchline.
The incident came after the Owls had gone 2-0 down, Gary Madine went off injured and they were trying to send on sub Chris O’Grady before Pecnik took a free kick in an attacking position..
“We were trying to get our centre forward on; it’s our free kick, it should be our advantage,” said Jones.
“I told Nejc not to take the free kick - we were trying to get Chris O’Grady on. Nejc went to explain to the ref [Eddie Ilderton] and got booked for time-wasting.
“Why would we want to waste time when we were losing 2-0? I was so irate on the touchline. It’s our free kick. We’ve lost a player. I wanted to get Chris on but the ref blanked me.
“If I’m not allowed to put our centre-forward on for own free kick, then it’s an advantage to the other side.”
Jones is the not the first Wednesday manager to be annoyed over an attempted substitution.
Brian Laws was sent off at Preston three years ago after protesting that he was not being allowed to make a substitution, just before Jon Parkin scored an injury-time equaliser and the Owls were pegged back to 1-1.
Gary Megson was dismissed at Wycombe last season and was angered by a delay in getting Rob Jones back on the field after he had to go off to change his shirt. Wednesday still won 2-1.
Some other decisions in the Oldham game did nothing to improve Jones’s unhappy mood, which in the main was influenced by the Owls’ below-par first half performance.
Players have been left in no doubt that they must improve on that in the Championship, though they did recover strongly to win 4-2 at Boundary Park.
Says Jones: “The best way for us to respond at Derby on Saturday is to play like we did in the second half.
“It’s early season. We know we still have a lot of work to do. There’s a long way to go yet. We have to work hard - that goes for everybody. We came out with credit for the second half, but not for the first half.”