Llera waits to show he can soften Jones blow

Capable:  Miguel Llera is looking for a fresh start under new boss Dave Jones.                                    PICTURE: steve ellis
Capable: Miguel Llera is looking for a fresh start under new boss Dave Jones. PICTURE: steve ellis

MIGUEL Llera could have most to gain if Owls captain Rob Jones is hit by suspension.

The Spanish defender has proved a capable replacement for Jones in the past and is one of the players looking for a fresh start under Dave Jones.

An injury suffered at Exeter just over a month ago cost Llera his place - and Jones has re-established himself as skipper and centre half.

With Llera also a regular on the bench in recent weeks he looks the obvious choice to step in if Jones receives a 10th booking of the season and is banned for two games.

Llera’s presence will certainly soften the blow if the combative captain does end up being suspended, which must be a distinct possibility, with five games to go before April 8.

Players who get to 10 bookings after that date get only a reprimand from the FA and a warning about their future conduct.

If Jones goes out then it would be up to the former Blackpool defender to play well enough to keep his place - as he did at the end of January when Jones became fit after his own bit of injury misfortune.

The friendly rivalry between the two for the left-side centre half spot has been a recurring theme since Llera was signed from Blackpool, first on loan then on a full deal in January.

Llera was having a fine game at Exeter on February 11 before he had to go off with a gash above his eye which needed seven stitches; the Owls were leading 1-0 at the time but were sent sliding to defeat by two free kicks.

But Jones returned to show solid form of his own under both Gary Megson and Dave Jones.

Another left-footer, Mark Beevers, is among payers who will hope for improved personal fortunes under Jones.

But the 22-year-old has not been in the match 16 since he was an unused sub in the FA Cup replay against Blackpool on February 7.

Beevers’ only involvement since his pre-Christmas loan spell at MK Dons came when he was needed as an emergency left back, going on as a sub at Scunthorpe when Daniel Jones was carried off and Reda Johnson and Julian Bennett were already out injured.

Beevers kept the role for the FA Cup tie at Blackpool, but then went out again as Johnson returned.

Danny Batth has made the right-side centre-back place his own because of his continually high standards.

Lewis Buxton’s similar consistency and recent return from hamstring trouble are all the more important with Jon Otsemobor, his main competitor for the right-back spot, due to have a knee operation, which rules him out for the rest of season.

It is another blow for the defender who overcame a long-term calf injury to replace Buxton when the later had a spell out.