OWLS: Defence is ’nowhere near’ promotion standards, warns Megson

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OWLS boss Gary Megson is said to be dismayed with the state of Wednesday’s defence and has said they must improve it immediately if they are to have a shot at promotion.

He judges that unless they tighten up, there is little chance of closing an eight-point gap between them and the top six.

The new boss also feels that the team made a bad start to last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with MK Dons even before they went behind in the 18th minute.

That is why he was soon on his feet giving instructions and abandoned the idea of merely observing the game.

“Defensively we’re nowhere near,” he told The Star.

“In the first half on Saturday, we also didn’t play at the right tempo. We didn’t go about things in the right manner.

“In the second half we were much better, regardless of how many men MK Dons had on the pitch. We started to play with more penetration instead of tip-tapping the ball around.”

Explaining his active role, he said: “I don’t think anybody could have sat there for longer than five or 10 minutes; we were shocking.”

Megson declined to divulge exactly what he said at half-time but confirmed: “I told a few home truths.”

He wants an improvement to start in Saturday’s game at Rochdale.

The Owls boss has also reflected: “You’d like to say we need to start keeping clean sheets, but we need to start keeping it below twos and threes; we’re nowhere near at the moment. We need to get that momentum going.

“We’re not going to get the results we need if we don’t defend a lot better, not just as a back four but as a team in general.”

Wednesday went two down against MK Dons and took their goals-against total to 22 in the last nine games, before Dons had two men sent off.

The Owls have sold their Rochdale allocation of 3,247 tickets.

Motherwell, from whom Wednesday recently signed left back Mark Reynolds for £100,000, have taken Francis Jeffers until the end of the season.

Jeffers, aged 30, has been playing for Australian A-League side Newcastle Jets.