Sheffield Wednesday: Owls take care with JJ

Jermaine Johnson has not been playing for 90 minutes but has remained a threat to opposing defences
Jermaine Johnson has not been playing for 90 minutes but has remained a threat to opposing defences
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Dave Jones had told how the Owls are nursing Jermaine Johnson along so that he can play as big a part as possible in their run-in.

Although JJ has scored four times in the last five games and went close to hitting another goal at Blackpool, he has not had a full 90 minutes in that period.

He has started four of the matches and then gone off, and on the other occasion has played as a sub.

The forward has tended to suffer from hamstring tightness - the reason for his 68th minute withdrawal during the 0-0 draw at Bloomfield Road.

“We’re just trying to get him as many minutes on the pitch as possible,” said Jones.

The Owls do not want Johnson to overdo it, aggravate his hamstring and then have to miss matches.

Jones also defended the forward, who was a target for the home fans at Blackpool after being booked for his reaction to a challenge in what was sometimes a physical contest. “He’d been getting a rough time,” added Jones. “The crowd were at him as well. He claimed one of their lads stamped on him; the referee missed that and booked him. It was harsh.”

JJ’s exit also removed the risk of him getting into further trouble.

Jones added: “If you’re tired and you’re late in a challenge, you’re always liable to get sent off.”

JJ seems likely to be ready for Saturday’s visit of Ipswich.

Jones was fulsome in his praise of his other striker, Steve Howard, for his busy and rugged leading of the line on Tuesday. He completed his second 90 minutes for the club.

“The big fella was magnificent up front,” said the manager, “and JJ playing off him gives them problems. All the lads did their jobs.

“Stuart Holden, in his 60 minutes, gave it everything he’d got. His tank’s half full at the moment, but credit to him and everybody.

“Stevie (Howard) came here with a point to prove and I don’t think he’s let anyone down.

“He put a shift in (against Blackpool), and I think the fans will always appreciate someone who does that.”

Reda Johnson sat out the game because of his ankle problem but it is hoped that he will be fit for Saturday.

Jones is similarly optimistic about Seyi Olofinjana, who has missed the last two games because of his knee injury. Giles Coke had another pain-killing injection in his foot before the Blackpool match.

“We’ll have to see how Giles is,” said Jones, “He was really sore. We gave him an injection; I don’t know how many more we can give him to deaden it.”