Sheffield Wednesday: Coke seeks new derby joy

Giles Coke pictured during the Owls' televised 3-1 win at Hull in January
Giles Coke pictured during the Owls' televised 3-1 win at Hull in January

Giles Coke looks set to launch another Yorkshire derby comeback bid for him and the Owls.

The midfield player’s return to the side in the televised clash with Hull last season marked a personal and club revival.

Wednesday won 3-1 at the KC Stadium and began a seven-match unbeaten run in the league which contributed to their vastly improved post-Christmas form.

It was also the start of Coke’s emergence as a first-team regular.

He has missed the last two games, against Rotherham and Burnley, through injury and illness respectively but looks set to play in the live-TV match at Leeds tomorrow (kick-off 12.15) and recreate last season’s successful partnership with David Prutton as the Owls aim to bounce back with their first win of the season.

Both men will also be aware that Dave Jones has his eyes on a new midfield signing - an incentive for the duo to hit last season’s heights.

Coke dropped out of last Saturday’s match and it created an opportunity for Jose Semedo, who will hope to retain his place and cannot be ruled out, but Jones regards him and Prutton as similar, ball-winning types of midfield player and is looking for greater creativity.

“Giles had an inflamed gall bladder last Friday evening. That’s settled down and he’s back in contention,” said Jones

The biggest decision for the manager centres on Reda Johnson and Lewis Buxton.

Jones says it would be a “50-50” gamble if he thrusts them straight into the side after their long-lay-offs and participation for part of the private game against Notts County on Wednesday.

It looks as if they will at least be in the squad.

They appear to have suffered no adverse reaction from the match-play apart from a little stiffness and did some light training yesterday.

There will be a further assessment today before a decision is made on them.

Jones said: “They came through it (training on Thursday); we’ll see how they are, and hopefully at least include them in the squad.

“They did well in the game on Wednesday; it was a great game; there were lots of crunching tackles; the referee let it flow. It was delight to see two really committed sides having a right go at each other.”

If Buxton and Johnson play then Liam Palmer and Rafa Floro will make way.

But Jones is pleased with the way youngsters are progressing, and feels that the best is yet to come from some more senior ones: “We have some really good players here. Some might not have touched top form yet, but we’re only two weeks into the season.

“The club has come a long way and it will go further, but it takes a bit of time. If you have the money, it will come a bit quicker, but if you haven’t then you keep looking for the right frees and loans and keep working, and eventually it will happen.

“We have some really good players here and work with them every day. “We’re not that far away from getting everybody up and running; Kieran Lee is the long-term one; Joe Mattock will be two to three weeks; But we’ve got two senior players back, which is a big help.

Jermaine Johnson is another senior player, we know we haven’t got him for another two games.

“If I was a player in any of those positions, I would look on it as my opportunity.

“The mood in the camp is really good. We shouldn’t have come away with no points from the first two games. It’s a fine line. Once we get over that fine line, it will get better and players will hit form.

“We need a bit of help: one, we need injured players back; two, we need a couple of players in to bolster the squad.”

Jones expects another close game at Leeds: “We could have won the home game against them last season; we could have lost it.

“In the game at Elland Road there were three really good goals; unfortunately they scored one more than, They were both tight games and I wouldn’t expect anything else.”