Sheffield Wednesday: Award is boost for Reda

Aerial power: Reda Johnson beats Wolves' Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
Aerial power: Reda Johnson beats Wolves' Sylvan Ebanks-Blake

REDA Johnson’s popularity among Wednesday fans is shown by the fact that his Player of the Month award has come about though he played in only three out of the six games in January.

Important goals against Hull and Charlton probably swayed the vote but it is also his swashbuckling style of play that supporters love and sparks the familiar chant of “Reda, Reda.”

The award will have been a boost for the left back as he targets a recovery from his ankle problem.

He polled 53 per cent of the vote, with the rejuvenated Giles Coke second on eight per cent and the consistent Miguel Llera third on seven.

Others with reasonable claims were the commanding Anthony Gardner, and David Prutton and Kieran Lee, who like Coke have made a midfield mark.

But Johnson headed the first goal at Hull to get Wednesday back in the game and send them on the way to a superb 3-1 victory. He played in the 0-0 draw with Wolves, and his equaliser with a fine header at Charlton was the turning point in a 2-1 win and fifth goal of the season..

Reda, a genial giant of a man with an infectious grin, shows pace up and the down the left flank, gets stuck into tackles, and is always a threat at set pieces because of his aerial power.

Fans love a trier who presents tenacious opposition to the other team - and that is why Jose Semedo has been so popular in his time at Hillsborough, though he is currently out of the side.

As manager, Dave Jones always has to take a hard-headed view. He thought that clumsiness was an element in Johnson’s incredible spell of five bookings in only eight games, which got him suspended for a game.

The manager has also seemed to question Reda’s defensive discipline on a couple of occasions, when he appeared to think that while he might score a goal, he might also cost one.

The foot problem has restricted Johnson to only 11 starts this season. Because of his attributes, Jones will want him fit as quickly as possible.

Reda and Danny Pugh - who replaced him last Saturday - are both good left backs but of totally different types.

Pugh is less imposing physically and scores rarely; his strengths seem to be quality on the ball, positional play, sounding defending and expert delivery of set-pieces.

They could play in the same team if Pugh is switched to midfield, where he is equally at home.

If Johnson had been fit on Saturday, what would Jones have done, when he had Jeremy Helan available, and Coke and Prutton had been doing well in the middle? Reda’s injury meant this selection headache did not arise.