Football family at war


Andy and Jordan Rhodes have suspended their close father-son relationship in the build-up to Saturday’s big game at Hillsborough.

Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeping coach Andy and Huddersfield striker Jordan have put football chat on the back burner ahead of a clash that is huge for both clubs.

Sheffield Wednesday FC....Andy Rhodes(Goal keeping coach)

Sheffield Wednesday FC....Andy Rhodes(Goal keeping coach)

Owls boss Gary Megson has headed off spy-in-the-camp suspicions by ruling out any attempt to tap into Rhodes senior’s knowledge of a Terriers’ side powered by his son’s phenomenal scoring exploits.

“I’ve told Andy that nobody at our club will ask him to find out anything about Huddersfield,” said Megson.

“And I’m quite certain the same applies the other way around.

“It’s not an issue. Everybody will be proper and professional about this.”

Megson is equally adamant that Wednesday are underdogs for this weekend’s eagerly-awaited Hillsborough derby - even though his second-placed side have leapfrogged Huddersfield by a four- point margin.

Of course, managers never miss a psychological trick and it will suit the Owls boss to play down the expectations of a big crowd who are guaranteed to get the old stadium rocking.

At face value, his stance flies in the face of current form. Yet there are sound reasons for Megson’s sobering sense of perspective, not least that he has built a team largely from loans and free transfers while rival boss Lee Clark has been a big spender.

If that highlights the brilliance of the job Megson is doing with the resources at his disposal, it also points to an element of danger.

“I wouldn’t like to suggest we are anything other than underdogs,” he told the Telegraph.

“There is some real top quality at Huddersfield - as they showed by setting an incredible new Football League record of 43 unbeaten matches.

“They have a huge wage bill having given a statement of intent by investing again after coming close to promotion last season.

“Yes, we are doing well (five successive wins in all competition) and our players know the importance of this game.

“But they also know that Huddersfield will be looking to react from losing the last two.

“That will make it a big test for us in every way, particularly in facing a striker who would walk into any side in the Championship and arguably one or two in the Premier League. He’s a great finisher who just keeps getting better.” Megson refers, of course, to Rhodes who boasts 21 goals this season including six for Scotland Under 21s.

Without Gary Madine, Wednesday cannot rival such firepower.

But collectively they are proving strong and resourceful, sprung forward by Ben Marshall who was signed after Megson failed in a bid for Huddersfield winger Gary Roberts.

It is a tribute to Megson’s management that several of his key men are loanees among six borrowed players at the club. Seemingly he has to rely on further favours from managerial pals to keep them in the January window.

Loans are considered the most pragmatic way forward at this stage.

However, it’s reasonable to suggest that if Wednesday maintain their current rate of progress, owner Milan Mandaric will be tempted to take out a promotion insurance policy in January by santioning the funds to give the team a greater degree of permanence.