Pace ace is desperate for starts so he can prove he’s worthy of a fresh contract

Owls Jermaine Johnson with Swans Nathan Dyer
Owls Jermaine Johnson with Swans Nathan Dyer

JERMAINE Johnson has revealed that he wants to stay with Wednesday though his contract runs out in the summer.

JERMAINE Johnson has revealed that he wants to stay with Wednesday though his contract runs out in the summer.

The winger could also get a chance to step up his challenge for a new deal when the Owls face Yeovil tonight.

Manager Alan Irvine may turn to JJ’s pace as he ponders his line-up in the wake of the 4-0 setback at Leyton Orient.

Johnson yearns to regain his starting place after losing out to Chris Sedgwick in recent games.

The Jamaica international’s priority is to help the team kick-start their promotion challenge but he also said: “I love this club.

“I don’t want to leave. If an opportunity came for me and the club didn’t want me, I’d have to move on.

“But I’d love to stay. I’m confident I can stay.”

He was the subject of a £300,000 bid from Nottingham Forest last summer but says: “As a player you always know that if you play well, people come in for you; I wasn’t really concentrating on it that much. I want to stay at this club. I want to do well.

“We know we can do much better. In training everyone is pumped up and trains well. We just need to bring that into the games and everything will come.

He admits that he was “a bit upset” at the time he was left out: “But I know the gaffer tries to make the right decisions. He has to be respected. I just have to try to force my way back into the team. I want to play all the time.

“I’m feeling much better. I’m really confident with my fitness. When I come on, I want to do my best for the team and the fans.

“When I start, I’m pumped up, more so when I come on as a sub. I want to do my best all the time.”

Johnson admits that he expected the Owls to fare better in League One than they have done: “We need to get points. I thought we were going to be running this league, but it is hard to play in.

“There are more challenges, there is no time on the ball. In the Championship there is more passing. This is a really rough league.

“We have to improve; we have to improve our confidence; we need to believe in everything that we do.

“For me, we have a Championship team. We need to keep focused. I’m always confident that the team I’m playing for can get to the play-offs or go up.“

Johnson is not the only option for change tonight, and for starters Irvine must make two alterations: hamstring injury victims Lewis Buxton and Tommy Miller are out.

Buxton’s problem is minor; he has already done a little running, but Miller’s prognosis depends on the result of a scan.

Jon Otsemobor (calf) and Liam Palmer (ankle) are the only other injured players, which means that Gary Madine looks set to make his home debut, after having to go off on Saturday, and Mark Reynolds may well play his first game, at left-back, after not being risked at Orient.

Right-back is the problem spot, once again, and if Irvine wants to hone the partnership of new boys Michael Morrison and Reda Johnson at centre-back, he may have to put Jones there.

Miller’s midfield spot could go to Darren Potter or, if he is considered ready after a significant lay-off, Giles Coke.

Irvine has been working on defensive organisation at set-pieces and believes that this was adversely affected on Saturday by the need to try to integrate new players plus forced changes at half time.

“There were reasons for what happened, reasons we have tried to work on.

“At the moment, I can understand people looking at the negatives. But the form at home has been good.”

He believes that the recipe for an uplift is: “To work as hard as we can, do the things that have got us the good results over the course of the season, and make sure we do our jobs when we’re defending set pieces.”

Irvine expects stubborn resistance from Yeovil: “They’re very organised, get a lot of players behind the ball and work extremely hard.”