DAVE Jones has pledged to embrace a new era of prudent spending at Hillsborough.
Gone are the days when Sheffield Wednesday could buy their way out of trouble. It is no secret the Owls chief wants at least one new striker before the closure of the January transfer window to bolster their hopes of staying up.
But Jones has expressed his intent to be sensible in the search for new players. With the Financial Fair Play rules set to kick in next season in the Championship, Jones is acutely aware they have to balance their books to avoid putting themselves in a sticky financial situation in the near future.
Following their goalless home draw with Wolves which keeps them three points above the relegation zone, Jones stressed: “We have to be diligent and cut our cloth accordingly, and try to find the right ones who we think can do us the right job.”
“I’ve got to move people out to move people in,” he added.
Defender Daniel Jones joined Port Vale last Friday and he is unlikely to be the last departure.
There is no disputing Wednesday have tightened up defensively over the Christmas period, with No 1 Chris Kirkland having kept five clean sheets in his last seven starts.
But there are question marks surrounding the futures of Miguel Llera and Martin Taylor. Fans favourite Llera is out of contract in the summer but Wednesday are reluctant to offer him a long-term deal because of his age. The combative Spaniard, who has chipped in with four goals, turns 34 in August. He has formed an impressive partnership with Anthony Gardner at the heart of Wednesday’s rearguard but there is no guarantee he is staying put.
Taylor, an unused substitute against Wolves, has failed to win over the Owls fans since arriving from Watford. His form has been patchy and it is understood Wednesday would allow Taylor to leave if a club meets their valuation of the player.
Danny Batth has hinted he would be interested in returning to Wednesday, having struggled to command a regular first-team berth at Molineux and he could come into the equation if either Llera or Taylor moved on.
There is a strong chance Jones will also revamp his forward line. Barnsley are big admirers of Chris O’Grady, Gary Madine has been linked with a move to Millwall while Chris Maguire’s days at the club appear to be numbered.
Cardiff City striker Rob Earnshaw is believed to be on Jones’ radar and the Wednesday boss also has to decide whether to extend Mamady Sidibe’s loan spell.
Whatever happens, Owls squad will have a different feel to it by the time they host Brighton next month.
Did you know? Only Ipswich and Barnsley have scored fewer goals in the league than the Owls. In total, Jones’ side have hit the back of the net a meagre 31 times, bagging just 16 at Hillsborough.