Sheffield Wednesday: ‘Good guy’ can take the abuse

Roger Johnson and the Owls are going flat out for a win
Roger Johnson and the Owls are going flat out for a win
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“You’re getting sacked in the morning.”

Hundreds of Doncaster Rovers fans directed the chant at Owls manager Dave Jones after they went ahead in Saturday’s derby.

Sheffield Wednesday’s neighbours certainly enjoyed piling the pressure on Jones following their 1-0 win at Hillsborough.

With Wednesday still yet to win in the Championship this season after eight attempts, Jones’ position has come under increased scrutiny over the last couple of weeks. Some Owls fans fear they face another year of battling to avoid relegation and that the time has come to change the manager.

But new Owls signing Roger Johnson believes Jones is the right person to lead a revival and that the Liverpudlian is thick-skinned enough to cope with any abuse he may get from supporters.

“Dave is a good guy,” said the centre-back. “He has had a lot of stick over the years in his managerial career so it is water off a duck’s back nowadays for him.”

Johnson, who began his career with Wycombe Wanderers, said Jones was a “massive” factor behind his decision to move to the South Yorkshire club. He played under Jones for three seasons at Cardiff City before being sold to Birmingham City for £5million in 2009.

He has leapt to the defence of Jones, saying: “The team struggled last year; the budget the gaffer is working with is tough. We are not going to be in the top two or three and I think everyone knows that.

“If we bring in a few more players and bolster the squad, it would be a good club to be at.”

After arriving on a three-month loan deal from Wolves in mid-September, Johnson was plunged into the starting line-up at Birmingham. It was an unhappy return to St Andrews for the 30-year-old as Wednesday were thumped 4-1, with Jesse Lingard bagging all four goals on his debut for the Blues.

He admitted: “It was tough because I think it was the worst performance that the team had had since the start of the season so I thought ‘oh god, what’s happening here?’

“It was one of those days where every mistake got punished and that sometimes happens in football.”

He felt their display on Saturday was “much better” and insists the mood remains positive in the dressing room despite their nine-match winless run in all competitions.

“We just need to get that monkey off our backs,” Johnson said. “It gets tougher the longer it [the run] goes on.

“No-one wants to be part of a losing team.

“Everyone is pushing in the right direction to get those three points and then we will go from there. Everyone is fighting. If we play like we did on Saturday, we will not be far away.”

Johnson faces an uncertain future at Wolves. He has not played for his parent club this term and was placed on the transfer list in the summer following their relegation to League One. Johnson is one of the top earners at the Midlands outfit and has not ruled out a permanent switch to Wednesday if his loan stint is a success.

When asked why he has fallen down in the pecking order at Wolves, he said: “I don’t really want to go into what’s happened there. That’s in the past. A lot of it has been publicised. Some unfair, some true.

“I went there as a big-money signing and went straight in as a captain which was tough. They suffered two relegations; you can’t pin that on one player. There are 30 other players in the squad.

“I was supposed to be this knight in shining armour. It kind of didn’t happen.”

Johnson, contracted to Wolves until 2015, said it was “inevitable” he would leave on a temporary basis.

“I have played a lot of games and I want to keep that tally going so staying at Wolves was not an option,” he said. “I didn’t just want to sit there and get paid. I am a footballer and I want to be playing games.”