OWLS manager Dave Jones is out to cash in on any turmoil at Blackburn Rovers.
The Ewood Park outfit head to Hillsborough without an established manager after parting company with Steve Kean, Henning Berg and Michael Appleton this season.
They have slumped towards the Championship danger zone, are trying to avoid a second successive relegation, and have seen the club’s owners come under fire from fans.
In the latest controversy, managing director Derek Shaw is said to have been involved in an internal inquiry about compensation owed to Henning Berg, who is claiming £2m.
Caretaker manager Gary Bowyer insists that the team have to show some fight as they bid to climb the table, after a convincing 3-0 defeat by Cardiff on Monday.
Jones believes that Rovers are still trying to adapt to the Championship: “They’re in a bit of turmoil at the moment. They’re looking for a new manager. We have to capitalise on any weakness that there is.
“They know what they have to do; we know what we have to do. They’re in a dogfight, the same as us.
“They’ve spent a lot of money, brought in a lot of players; I’ve said many times that it doesn’t guarantee anything at this level, as the division is showing now.
“We have to try to be at our best against them, look for their weaknesses and try to nullify their strengths.”
Jones, having previously guessed at 52 or 53 points as a safety mark, now refuses to put an estimate on the number of points that could be needed to ensure survival, so tight is the division.
“We’ve said we have seven cup finals - that’s the way we have to look at it.
“Everybody is confident and working hard. There’s a good atmosphere. You can’t rely on other teams. It’s in our hands, and we have to do it for ourselves.
“We just want as many points as we can get.”
Jones believes that the Owls can shoot up to to 10th if they sustain winning form and other results go their way. He could recall loan signings Seyi Olofinjana and Stuart Holden to midfield now that any doubt about them seems to have been cleared up after they missed the Bristol City game with knocks.
With only five of the Owls’ six loan players allowed to be in the match 18, Jones once again faces something of a dilemma.
Steve Howard was the one to miss out for the visit of Barnsley, but played at Bristol.
Jeremy Helan, Danny Pugh and Leroy Lita are also in contention, so in weighing up the personnel and tactical possibilities - ranging from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 - Jones has plenty of options. The claims of Gary Madine cannot be dismissed.
Lewis Buxton seems likely to displace Kieran Lee at right back after being suspended for the Bristol match.
Jones also seems to be leaning towards a run in the side for Jermaine Johnson so long as he does his stuff.
The Owls manager’s latest comment on the way JJ can be erratic: “He gets you out of your seat, then plonks you down on it again.”
But Jones has saluted JJ’s fine goal on Monday and believes that he has already shown this season what a devastating player he can be.
The manager has also revealed that Giles Coke (sore foot) and Reda Johnson (ankle) have been battling on despite feeling sore:
“Cokey has done briliantly, because a week ago we didn’t think we were going to get him back at all; he’s playing through the pain barrier; Reda is the same. They’re doing that because they know what’s at stake. That’s a fantastic attitude.”
He believes that Coke and Jermaine Johnson made a difference when they went on as subs against Barnsley.
Both were rewarded with starts on Monday, but Coke’s place is now under pressure from Olofinjana and Holden.