IF Wednesday can pull of a shock win at Middlesbrough tonight then Dave Jones will add to his outstanding memories of the Riverside Stadium.
The Owls boss thinks fondly of the night when he took Stockport, then in football’s third tier, close to a sensational victory in a League Cup semi-final against Premier League opposition.
And Jones’s Cardiff side beat a top-flight Boro outfit in the FA Cup quarter-finals in a front of a near-capacity 32,000 Riverside crowd.
Wednesday have lost on all five of their visits to the ground and, 20th in the table, will start as underdogs against a Middlesbrough side who will go top of the Championship if they win.
Jones believes that history is irrelevant but he admits: “I have a decent record there. Because Sheffield Wednesday haven’t got a decent record there, it doesn’t mean it’s going to continue.
“Sometimes you have break those ducks. Statistics are for the past.”
But he admits that the Stockport and Cardiff matches have stuck in his mind. In 1997, County lost 2-1 at home to Bryan Robson’s team in the first leg of the League Cup semi, but won 1-0 in the second leg and went out only on away goals. “It was a fantastic night and we missed a great chance in the last minute,” says Jones, whose side had beaten Blackburn, West Ham and Southampton to reach the last four.
Cardiff, who were in the Championship, won 2-0 at Middlesbrough in the last eight of the FA Cup on their way to the final in 2008.
He added: “Those two good days probably stick in my mind. I’ve had bad ones as well well but you tend to forget about those!”
Jones will have Paul Corry back in the squad after he passed a fitness test on his ankle yesterday.
It looks a straight choice in midfield between Corry and Rhys McCabe, who replaced him for the 2-0 defeat against Blackpool, in possibly the only change, though the manager could also ponder a change up front as Chris O’Grady was taken off at half time on Tuesday.
Jones sees no reason to abandon the present system or playing style. “Why do we want to change it? It’s getting us into good positions, into areas where we are now competing at this level.
“We can score goals at this level - it’s just that missing piece of the jigsaw.”
Although not ruling out another signing to improve the team’s scoring prowess, he says that everyone is working on adding the better final ball or finish to the play that has caused problems even to established Championship teams.
Teams and ref
BORO (possible): Steele, Parnaby, Hines, Bikey, Friend, Haroun, Leadbitter, McEachran, Bailey, Jutkiewicz, McDonald. (4-4-2).
OWLS (possible): Kirkland, Buxton, Llera, Gardner, Jones, Semedo, Bothroyd, Barkley, McCabe or Corry, Antonio, O’Grady. (4-1-4-1).
Carl Boyeson (E Yorks): This will be the second time this season that he has refereed Middlesbrough: He took Boro 3, Burnley 2 on August 21. In 12 games he has shown 37 yellow cards and one red.