DAVE Jones has revealed that Jeremy Helan was landed for a second loan stay because the player stuck to his word and the Owls stuck to their guns.
The winger was expected to be bought by Watford after going back to Manchester City from Hillsborough, and Jones moved to sign another left-side player, Danny Pugh.
But Helan returned to the Owls this week after all, on loan for the rest of the season.
Jones explained: “The deal with Watford fell through; then they wanted to loan him; Jeremy had always said that if he was going to be loaned anywhere, he would come back here.
“He was true to his word, and we stuck to our guns. One, we couldn’t buy him; two, we weren’t going to give the agent what he was looking for.
“Maybe because we were strong, we ended up getting him back, which is great because he gives us an extra dimension.
“I’m grateful to Roberto Mancini for doing it.”
Helan looks likely to start against Brighton tomorrow after missing the Charlton game, as he was playing well before his departure and his pace is such an asset - especially when the Seagulls have a quick right back, Bruno, who was Man of the Match in the 3-0 home win against the Owls in September and is expected to make a comeback from injury tomorrow.
It raises the intriguing question of where Pugh will fit in if he is to play, though his versatility does raise options.
He took Helan’s place on the left side of midfield in the 2-1 win at Charlton but can play in central midfield, where Giles Coke and David Prutton have struck up a successful partnership, or left back, where Reda Johnson has been a regular.
Although Johnson scored a trademark goal at the Valley, Jones has a couple of times had a dig at his defensive discipline in recent weeks, and the goal that Charlton scored on the counter-attack came down his side. However, he has also been a powerhouse with pace and aerial ability.
Jones’s selection of 11 could also be influenced by fitness, for he has revealed that he is waiting on a couple of injury checks, and he does not expect one of the players concerned to make it for tomorrow’s game.
Regardless of the Helan issue, Jones is pleased to have signed Pugh on loan from Leeds for the rest of the season: “Jeremy had still been here and we’d had the opportunity to sign Danny, I’d have taken it,” said the manager.
“He’s got 12 years’ experience and knows the role inside out, no matter where he plays on the left side.
“You can also tuck him into the middle. We could change our formation and it would not hinder us in any way.”
Leroy Lita, who came off the bench to score the winner last Saturday, looks set for a home debut start tomorrow.
The main reason he did not start last week was that he only met up with the club on the evening before the game, and Michail Antonio and Jermaine Johnson had been doing well up front.
Lita was brought in to score goals and it seems unthinkable that, after a week’s work at Middlewood, he will not play. The front-line partnerhip of Jermaine Johnson and Antonio seems set to be broken.