FOOTBALL really is a funny old game.
At the start of the season, Giles Coke and David Prutton appeared to have no future at Sheffield Wednesday, with manager Dave Jones farming the duo out on loan to Swindon Town and Scunthorpe United respectively.
But since returning to Hillsborough, Coke and Prutton have knuckled down, worked hard on the training ground and forced their way into the first-team picture. Indeed, the pair have started together in the middle of the park in Wednesday’s last two outings, against Wolves and Charlton. Not many people would have predicted that.
“They have been like two new signings for us,” Nigel Short, chairman of fan group Wednesdayite, told The Star. “Both of them have done fantastic.
“Maybe those loan spells have given them the impetus and confidence to want to play for a bigger club. Nobody can deny that we are bigger than Swindon and Scunthorpe. We have got Liam Palmer to come back at the end of the season so we are looking good in the midfield area.”
Short has been particularly impressed with Prutton’s form.
“Rhys McCabe and Paul Corry are good young players,” he said. “But David is an old head and a calming influence which has been a big factor in our recent results.”
Since losing at runaway leaders Cardiff City, Wednesday have secured 13 points from a possible 15 on their travels. Jones’ troops are one of the form teams in the division and have moved up to 20th in the standings.
Short said: “We had a tough spell but we seem to be playing well now, especially away from home. Dave (Jones) has made changes to the team and he has brought back players such as Giles (Coke) and David (Prutton) and we look a much more settled side. I think Kieran Lee has made a big difference too.”
Over the Christmas period, Jones brought in Stuart Gray as a coach and Short believes he has played a big part in tightening up the defence.
He also reserved special praise for chairman Milan Mandaric.
“You have to give credit to Milan for sticking by Dave,” said Short. “There are only three or four clubs who have not changed their manager at the bottom of the Championship.
“Milan could have listened to the pressure or the critics and made a change but he has kept faith with him and things are looking quite good now.”
Did you know? The Owls clash at Millwall, scheduled for Saturday February 16, has been postponed due to the Lions’ involvement in the FA Cup. A new date has yet to be confirmed.