IT PROMISES to be a busy summer for Dave Jones.
After Tuesday’s dramatic victory over Millwall, Sheffield Wednesday have virtually guaranteed another season in the Championship. They are one of the form sides in the division and it is not unthinkable that they could now secure a top-10 finish.
The Hillsborough outfit have nearly achieved their short-term objective of staying up but Owls boss Jones, who has already planned the club’s pre-season tour, is looking at the bigger picture. He is acutely aware reinforcements are required to turn Wednesday into a genuine force at this level.
As part of the rebuilding process, Jones will have to make several personnel decisions next month. Stephen Bywater, Nicky Weaver, Adam Davies, Julian Bennett, Lewis Buxton, Miguel Llera, Giles Coke, David Prutton and Jermaine Johnson are all out of contract come the end of the 2012/13 campaign.
In Wednesday’s revival, Buxton, Llera, Coke, Prutton and Johnson have featured prominently and will hope for new deals. The future looks less clear for back-up goalkeeper Bywater, Weaver and Bennett.
Chris Lines and Chris O’Grady, who are on loan at MK Dons and Barnsley respectively, are contracted to the club until next year but neither are likely to feature in Jones’ long-term plans while Liam Palmer, Paul Corry and Danny Mayor are hoping to be involved in the first-team set-up next term.
Jones also has tough decisions to make regarding his loan recruits. Jeremy Helan, Danny Pugh, Leroy Lita and Seyi Olofinjana have caught the eye in flashes since joining Wednesday.
One department of the team Jones is likely to strengthen is his forward line. If O’Grady goes, it leaves Jones with just two recognised strikers in Gary Madine and Chris Maguire.