Sheffield Wednesday: Owls boss lays down challenge

Roger Johnson, left, Owls loan signing
Roger Johnson, left, Owls loan signing

Roger Johnson began his fight for fitness yesterday eager to prove that he will be available as soon as possible to help end Sheffield Wednesday’s poor start to the season.

The 30-year-old central defender, who had become an outcast at Wolves, sets out at Hillsborough to resurrect a career that has had it setbacks recently after being a Carling Cup winner and an FA Cup Finalist in the past five years not to mention a £4m move just two years ago

Owls’ boss Dave Jones is confident his previous manager/player relationship with Johnson can be turned to mutual benefit at Wednesday who have him until January.

“Roger knows my principles, what I expect from my players so he comes here under no illusions,” says Jones.

“People says there’s some baggage but I know the lad and we have got a very good player who has a stage to perform on here.

“It’s now up to him to go out there and take the opportunity we are giving him.”

The Owls boss said that Johnson was “fantastic” for him at Cardiff where, together, they reached the FA Cup Final in 2008.

On two occasions he was Cardiff’s Player of the Year and when the Welsh club didn’t make it to the top flight, Johnson finally did in a £5m move to Birmingham City in 2009.

Two years later he helped Birmingham beat Arsenal in the Carling Cup Final and then moved to Wolves in the summer of 2011 although it has proved a disastrous move with successive relegations and difficulties at Molineux culminating in him being one of four players told they could leave. New boss Kenny Jackett didn’t even give him a squad number this season.

Wednesday were rejected in two previous attempts to bring him to Hillsborough before being successful last week with Johnson reportedly taking a cut in his wages to get this opportunity.

Jones said the first priority was to get him fit and playing as he hadn’t played this season. The irony is that Wednesday’s next game is at Johnson’s former club Birmingham City on Saturday.

Johnson would clearly love to be available for that game and will strive put himself in the frame as Wednesday look to end one of the poorest starts in their history. Only four times have they gone longer than the current six game stretch without a win from a season’s start.

Man City defender George Swan has joined the club on a youth loan. His father Peter played for Leeds and Hull.