Alan Biggs at Large: Fortune could favour brave Owls boss Dave

Alan Bigg Telegraph Web Tile
Alan Bigg Telegraph Web Tile

In reality, there are no absolute “must win” games at this relatively early stage of the season.

Not for clubs anyway. But that doesn’t necessarily apply for managers.

So how important is Sheffield Wednesday versus Reading for Dave Jones?

Well, it’s hard not to conclude that he has to win it based on the Owls being bottom of the Championship as the only team in the country yet to post a victory.

Keeping Jones is very much Milan Mandaric’s preferred option and perhaps, too, of many more supporters than the more vociferous might imagine.

All the evidence, albeit only partially at Oakwell last weekend, is that the general level of performance is above sacking standard.

Some of those eight draws in 12 games have deserved a better outcome.

I do think luck plays an underrated part in sport and in life.

Jones has had next to none of the right sort lately.

Hopefully he will get it at Hillsborough on Saturday and the season will finally turn for all concerned.

Owner Mandaric made the significant point here last week that the players are clearly pulling for Jones.

But the chairman’s natural dissatisfaction with results and his “I don’t have my head in the sand” comment made it clear that his own support for the manager can’t be limitless.

As much as I’m opposed to Wednesday’s record of rapid hiring and firing across too many years, I’d find it hard to argue that this isn’t a last stand for Jones.

Mandaric will do whatever he feels necessary to protect the club’s status and his investment.

Consider too that if it really has got to the point where the manager has one game to keep his job (although that is never literally the case because it has been an accumulation) then any sensible chairman will have begun to consider potential replacements and probably take soundings on availability.

It’s actually been quiet on the speculation front up to the Telegraph going to press.

Maybe Mandaric has yet to put thought into action.

But there is an unmistakable build up of pressure on Jones, not so much from his own chairman but from results which, in many cases, have not matched performances.

If a team at seemingly close to full tilt can’t win, what then?

We are about to find out and Jones, criticised for entering some games with only one orthodox striker, surely has to go in with all guns blazing with Matty Fryatt still on board.

If it’s to be Lucky 13, he may just find that fortune favours the brave.