Sheffield Wednesday: Semedo bids for return as Jones eyes changes

Comeback bid: Jose Semedo has been out because of a leg gash.
Comeback bid: Jose Semedo has been out because of a leg gash.
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JOSE Semedo is back in contention as Owls manager Dave Jones ponders changes for today’s match at Huddersfield.

The midfield player is in full training after recovering from the leg gash that prevented him from taking part in full-contact work or games.

Jones, still intent on rotating his side as much as possible, now has to decide whether to disrupt the partnership of David Prutton and Rhys McCabe.

Or perhaps even add Semedo as a third centre-midfield man.

The Wednesday boss is also carrying out a careful assessment of Reda Johnson, and wondering whether a third game in eight days would be too taxing for the left back, out for two and a half months with a foot injury.

If Johnson is rested - and also sure of avoiding a one-match ban for five bookings - then Jones could either retain Joe Mattock, who replaced Johnson after 76 minutes at Bolton, or switch Jeremy Helan back to full back from left-side midfield.

A wide vacancy in midfield could be filled by Jermaine Johnson or Michail Antonio, and if the latter was the choice then that may mean Chris O’Grady or Gary Madine returning up front.

Jay Bothroyd is in contention as well, and Jones is now not short of options in tactics or personnel as he targets a fourth successive win.

“I want to keep as many players fresh as I can,” he said. “It also breeds competition, When you’re on a good run, everybody may say ‘don’t change it’ but I changed it and picked a team to win at Bolton; that’s what we did, and if I have to change it again, I will do.

“If the players are on onside with it, then it helps.”

Julian Bennett is the only player on the injured list, with a back injury that he suffered while he was on loan at Shrewsbury.

Jones, after the draw with Leeds and win against Barnsley, hopes for further joy against Yorkshire rivals: “It’s a derby game.

“We’ve had a couple of those and we know how intense they can be.

“We have to stay focused. They’re at home, they beat us at our place, but we’re trying to make sure we get the points.”

On Reda Johnson, Jones added: “We’re having a look at him, because of the number of games in a short space of time. He’s probably been a better defender when he’s tired, because he’s not been ploughing forward, and he’s got a hard task to get past Jeremy [Helan], who’s just as quick.”

Huddersfield manager Simon Grayson, whose team drew 1-1 at home to Blackpool on Boxing Day, said that a win against Wednesday would be a nice end to a year of progress for his club: “”I think it’s a great game. You want another game to come along quickly after a poor performance and this is a local derby that will be played in front of a big crowd.

“Sheffield Wednesday are on a good run of form and we know this won’t be an easy game. We’ve watched DVDs of them and you can see a little bit of a difference in them compared with the early part of the season; sometimes that comes about through a little bit of luck, or a single result brings a bit more confidence – there are many aspects that will have helped them.

“They will still feel like there is a lot of work to be done to get up the table. We will have respect for the opposition, who are probably playing with more confidence, but it’s about what we do.”