Sheffield Wednesday: Jones laid-back over loan policy

Barnsley manager David Flitcroft talks to Watford boss Gianfranco Zola
Barnsley manager David Flitcroft talks to Watford boss Gianfranco Zola

SHEFFIELD Wednesday boss Dave Jones has got no complaints over Watford’s controversial loan policy.

The Hornets, managed by Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola, are currently third in the Championship and are unbeaten in six matches.

But the London outfit have come in for criticism in some quarters for having 10 players on loan from sister clubs Udinese and Granada. Football League rules state clubs are only allowed to name five loan players in a matchday squad and can borrow just two on a standard loan from any one club.

However, Watford, who are owned by the Pozzo family along with Udinese and Granada, have found a loophole in the system, as loan deals arranged with foreign teams are recognised as transfers, meaning there is no limit to the number of loanees from overseas.

“Anybody would have done it,” said Jones. “Their owners have brought half a new team over. If they are the rules, you use them to the best of your capabilities. Do I agree with it might be another matter but I haven’t got a problem with it.”

Speculation is growing the Football League will review the system next season. During his pre-match press conference yesterday, Jones recalled when he was in charge at Cardiff City and signed Craig Bellamy from Manchester City on a season long-loan deal.

“I had the complaint when I got Craig (Bellamy) in from Manchester City on the loan system and they paid the majority of his wages,” said Jones. “I didn’t make the rules. It is the Football Association who do that.

“Watford have used the the rules to the best of their advantage. Their problem will come next year when they have closed the loophole.”

Jones is confident the Owls will cope with Watford’s 3-5-2 formation but has told his players to keep a close eye on the Hornets 20-goal top-scorer Matej Vydra.

“He (Vydra) is a top player but they have a wealth of experience and a lot of international players,” he said. “We have got to make sure that we put them on the back foot and we are capable of doing that with the pace we have got. It will be a game of cat and mouse; similar to when we played Hull.”

When the two sides last met, Chris Lines missed a first half penalty at 1-1 and Watford scored three after the break in a comfortable win.

“We missed a penalty and it changed the whole complexion of the game,” said Jones. “We gave as good as we got in the first half but the second was a bit of a lesson for us.”