Sheffield Wednesday: Erratic JJ key to Owls cause

Key man: Jermaine Johnson, right, beats Liam Fontaine to the ball at Bristol City.    Picture: Steve ellis
Key man: Jermaine Johnson, right, beats Liam Fontaine to the ball at Bristol City. Picture: Steve ellis

JERMAINE Johnson is nearly as unpredictable as the Championship relegation battle.

As talented as JJ is, you can never be quite certain as a manager how the mercurial winger will perform from one match to the next. The Jamaican international’s speed frightens defenders and his dribbling ability can unlock stubborn defences at this level but there isn’t always end product to his play.

Johnson remains consistently inconsistent, in much the same way as it is too hard to call who will be relegated from the second tier of English football this season. Every club below 10th-placed Middlesbrough are still in the dogfight.

There will be plenty more twists and turns between now and May 4 but who would have thought Peterborough United would complete the double over Premier League bound Cardiff City? Who would have thought Wolves and Blackburn Rovers, relegated from the top flight last season, would be involved in the scrap to stay up?

As far as the Owls are concerned, Johnson could hold the key to them avoiding an immediate return to League One. With Michail Antonio ruled out for the rest of the season through injury, it is up to Johnson to come to the fore.

The 32-year-old, out of contract in the summer, impressed after coming on as a substitute against Barnsley, playing an instrumental role in Gary Madine’s opener.

Recalled to the starting line-up at Ashton Gate, Johnson tormented the Robins defence throughout his 52 minutes on the field. He linked up well with new arrival Steve Howard and showed great composure to put Wednesday 1-0 ahead. It was a blow when he was taken off but Wednesday chief Dave Jones said Johnson, who has filled in at right-back during the 2012/13 season, was tired.

“JJ was feeling really sore,” he said. “JJ is an impact player. He travelled around the world last week so we didn’t get him back until last Friday so we were pleased to get out of him what we did at Bristol.”

Last August, Johnson hit a purple patch of form, bagging three goals in four appearances. In the last two outings, Johnson has appeared somewhere close to his best but can he maintain those standards for the last seven matches?