LEWis Buxton’s return is a plus point for Sheffield Wednesday as they bid to transform their fortunes.
Manager Dave Jones is certainly glad to see him back, after his absence with a hamstring injury contributed to back-four problems.
Buxton’s comeback against Hull last Saturday was his first game in five weeks.
The Owls are now making sure that he stays in shape as they start making plans for next Friday’s televised clash with Leeds.
“It was good to see him back, and I thought he played well,” said Jones.
“We have to be careful with him, because he’s had this sort of problem before.”
Buxton had a spell on the sidelines in the middle of last season but was mostly a key member of the promotion side, and his previous Championship experience suggested that he would be a strong contender for this season’s right-back spot.
He did earn the nod despite the summer signing of Kieran Lee. When Buxton was injured, Joe Mattock had a spell in the position, but when Mattock was switched to his recognised position on the left, and both Lee and Buxton were both out, it meant an emergency task for Jermaine Johnson at right back.
Having Buxton back adds an element of familiarity and stability to the back four, when Wednesday are still trying to become tighter as a team.
The Owls will have had almost a fortnight to prepare for next week’s Yorkshire derby, without international football having made much more than a dent in their build-up, as Rhys McCabe has not gone away with Scotland Under 21s, and Nejc Pecnik, though away with Slovenia, faces relatively straightforward travelling.
Nor was Pecnik in the Owls’ team last weekend, but Leeds midfield player Rodolph Austin is a member of the Jamaica squad who are currently on the other side of the world - a squad with no place these days for Jermaine Johnson.
Jamaica play in a World Cup qualifier in Guatemala, South America, today. Then they go home to Kingston to play Antigua and Barbuda on Tuesday.
Austin, who played in Leeds’ 1-0 home win against Barnsley last Saturday, is not expected back in Leeds until around 36 hours before the match against Wednesday.
Pecnik, who did not figure at all in the Owls’ 1-0 defeat by Hull, is not straying from Europe: he is in Slovenia for a home game today against Cyprus, and Albania next Tuesday for a qualifier in Tirana.
Leeds manager Neil Warnock is not too happy with Austin’s schedule, saying: “It’s ridiculous, the travelling that’s involved, and the timing.
“It doesn’t help, with us playing Friday as well. It’s a testing time for managers and I’m sure I won’t be the only one hoping everything comes ok.
“Obviously with all the travelling he has done, we will have to see how Rudy is when he gets back to the UK.”
Meanwhile, St Johnstone and former Wednesday centre forward Steve MacLean will be out for a further six weeks because of a dislocated elbow. He missed Saturday’s 2-1 home win against St Mirren and hoped to be back soon but a visit to a consultant brought bad news.