Any player walking through the gates of Middlewood Road tomorrow knows they have an even chance of making Dave Jones’ first team.
The Sheffield Wednesday manager, through his words and actions, has ensured that anyone could be lining up at Loftus Road on August 3 when the Championship season begins.
Jones talks a lot during his press briefings, yet gives reporters very little that he doesn’t want to.
He constantly bats away transfer rumours with an efficiency England No 3 Jonathan Trott would be proud of.
However, he is worth listening to because he says what he means.
Throughout his time at Hillsborough Jones has made it clear he has no favourites; has no motive other than form and will pick players regardless of reputation if they’re doing the job he wants them to do.
“I tell them every time they step through the door they have a chance,” he’s said.
“Every day they have the chance to impress me on the training pitch.”
And it’s true.
David Prutton, who signed a new one-year deal with Wednesday yesterday, and Giles Coke looked like they wouldn’t play in the first team again.
The pair had been part of the squad at the start of last season but soon found themselves loaned out.
Prutton, aged 31, was at Scunthorpe and 27-year-old Coke was also in League One at Swindon.
But the regular first team football did both some good - although Coke’s spell was cut short by an injury.
Prutton was first to fight his way back into the team.
He played in a 1-0 defeat at eventual champions Cardiff City on December 2, which was widely regarded as a positive performance in amongst a run of seven consecutive defeats.
Coke made his return at another of the automatically promoted clubs, Hull City, in a 3-1 victory on January 12.
Prutton was missing on that occasion through suspension but paired up with Coke in the Owls midfield against Wolves at home on January 19 as Wednesday went on a run of four wins and two draws in six games.
Their partnership vindicated Jones’ comments that if you’re playing well then he’ll pick you in the team.
Miguel Llera, who will have talks with the club today with a view to signing his contract offer, is another looked as if his days were numbered at Hillsborough.
There was speculation during the January transfer window that the 33-year-old Spanish centre-half was on his way out of S6.
But, again, his form made it impossible for Jones to leave him out.
And why would he have wanted to with him scoring six goals in 46 appearances throughout the campaign.
Whether Coke and Llera put pen to paper on new contracts remains to be seen, but what theirs and Prutton’s story shows is that each and every Wednesday player will start with a clean slate every day while Jones is in charge of the club.
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