Sheffield Wednesday: Pre-season Wednesday find room for sentiment

Rodger Wylde.

Rodger Wylde.

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Dave Jones and Rodger Wylde used to share a hotel room when Stockport County were staying overnight before away games.

Jones was a coach, Wylde the physio, and those days began a friendship that has endured.

After moving up in the managerial world, Jones tried three times to employ his old buddy.

But the former Owls star remained loyal to his club - and that is why his and Jones’ paths will cross again a week tomorrow.

The match between Wednesday and Stockport will be a combination of pre-season friendly and a testimonial in recognition of Wylde’s 25 years’ service as County’s physio.

Jones also regards it as a useful part of the Owls’ fitness programme - which is why he will be taking a full squad for this opening game of the public pre-season schedule.

There will be a bit of light relief as well, probably at some point in the second half, with Chris Waddle and David Hirst going on for cameo appearances and probably their final outings for the Owls.

Wylde has also enlisted Stockport and Wednesday old boy Carlton Palmer to be County’s player-manager for the night.

But for the Owls the match has mostly a serious purpose.

Jones, who started as a coach at County, then became assistant manager and manager, said: “Rodger was big player here at Sheffield Wednesday and was well liked, I believe.

“I worked with him for four or five years at Stockport, as a coach, assistant manager and manager; I used to room with him before I got the manager’s job - then I got my own room!

“I’m delighted we’re going to Stockport for the game. Everyone will go there - all the first team, all the young players.

“We’ll use it for our training, as part of our build-up.

“Rodger’s got some really good ex-Stockport players who are still playing, for other clubs, and will be playing against us. Chris Waddle and Hirsty are going to go on for cameo roles for us near the end.”

Jones is likely to give almost all his senior players some part of the game - common practice for the first friendly.

The Owls boss also said: “I tried to poach Rodger three times: after I’d gone to Southampton, Wolves and Cardiff. But his loyalty was to Stockport.

“It will be a good opening exercise for us. After that, we’ll go to Scunthorpe on the Saturday, we’ve then got the two games in Portugal against Braga and Huill, followed by Rangers at home and Chesterfield away.”

A private game has been added to the programme, at the FA’s St George’s Centre in Burton on Saturday.

Jones said: “It’s against one of the top European sides who will be over here and are also staying at St George’s.” But he has not disclosed the name of the opposition.