THE persuasive powers of Sheffield Wednesday boss Dave Jones convinced veteran striker Steve Howard to swap one relegation fight for another.
Speaking after the Owls battling draw at Bristol City on Easter Monday, Howard, on loan from League One strugglers Hartlepool United until the end of the season, revealed his admiration for Jones.
The Durham-born forward, who made his debut at Ashton Gate, said: “It is fantastic when you know somebody like Dave wants you. I’ve got the utmost respect for him from his Cardiff days.
“I have played against his teams loads of times and he’s a cracking manager and I am really looking forward to working with him.”
Wednesday have tried to sign the 36-year-old on two previous occasions but Howard rejected their advances; electing to join Derby County in 2006 and then Leicester City two years later.
Howard joked: “It got to the stage where I thought I can’t turn this down anymore!”
He said Wednesday had been interested in recruiting his services “for a while” and confirmed the switch was finalised “very quickly” last Thursday.
Howard admits things have been a “grind” at Pool in recent months. He is contracted to Hartlepool, who are bottom of the league and destined to go down, until 2015.
“The lack of resources at Hartlepool was hard to take and taken its toll this season,” he said. “It has been a grind and hasn’t helped them.
“Sheffield Wednesday are a massive club. I had an opportunity I could not turn down.
“Dave [Jones] phoned and said come and do a job for me, enjoy yourself and that was the biggest pull for me.”
When asked about his long-term future, Howard said: “I just want to enjoy myself and see what happens.
“I will do my bit wherever the boss wants me to play.
“I’ve come to help the team out. It is up to the boss whether I play.
“I want to start playing football with a smile on my face which I haven’t done for a while. I thoroughly enjoyed myself at Bristol City and it has given me a boost so I am well happy.”