Sheffield Wednesday boss Dave Jones welcomes back Jermaine Johnson for Saturday’s clash with Middlesbrough - and must now decide whether or not to hand his mercurial winger an instant return to the Owls side.
Johnson, handed a three-match ban for headbutting Rotherham’s Ben Pringle in Wednesday’s Capital One Cup defeat at the New York Stadium, is available for selection again as Wednesday travel to the Riverside still seeking their first win of the season.
Jones, though, was quick to castigate Johnson for that incident, and must now weigh up whether to throw him straight back into the team against Tony Mowbray’s men.
The Owls manager is known to be loyal to his players, so Johnson could face a fight before forcing his way back into the starting line-up.
Jeremy Helan and Michail Antonio were Wednesday’s pace threats against Millwall, and could be used again against ‘Boro, alongside either Atdhe Nuhui or Chris Maguire.
“You have to keep working hard, keep improving and stay positive,” skipper Anthony Gardner said.
“We’ll be working on it in training to make sure we get that win at Middlesbrough.”
Jones, who last week captured the loan signing of Sampdoria’s Andelko Savic, is keen to bolster his squad further ahead of Monday’s transfer deadline.
Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland is the latest name to be linked with Wednesday, as Jones looks to increase the competition on Chris Kirkland. Former Manchester City man Martin Petrov played for the Owls in a private friendly against Chesterfield this week.
Jones remains keen on bringing Leroy Lita back to Hillsborough after last season’s loan spell, but has to free up funds by trimming his existing wage bill. Barnsley are also interested in the Swansea striker, who scored six goals for Wednesday last season.
n Lee Bullen’s Owls U21s, meanwhile, entertain Sheffield United at Hillsborough tomorrow, kick off 1pm.