SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Owls driven on by fan power

Makeshift defender: Owls winger Jermaine Johnson
Makeshift defender: Owls winger Jermaine Johnson

DAVE Jones clearly believes that the best is yet to come from some of his players.

He puts Michail Antonio into that category, as well as Martin Taylor and others.

Jones also feels that he can only ever ask players to do their best.

So he has refrained from heaping criticism on Jermaine Johnson over the two goals that Burnley scored from crosses on Tuesday, accepting the winger’s inexperience as a full-back.

Jones never stops trying to encourage his squad and attempting to get the best out of them.

But he also has an important aid, he believes: the backing from the supporters.

Jones tells a story about half-time at Burnley: “When we came off we were 2-1 down and we got a standing ovation. That takes a lot, because the fans were disappointed, as we were. The conversation in the dressing was that they’d all turned up, all paid really good money, and listen to them, they’re still behind us.

“Maybe they have realised, along with the home fans. that this season it’s not going to be as easy as some people thought. They’ve had good times over the last 12 months - sometimes you have bad times then appreciate the good ones better.

“Not one of us at the club didn’t appreciate what went on. It made a massive difference. You could see that when we came back out we’re all in it together.”

Jones, an Everton fan in his boyhood, added: “I was a supporter many years ago. I had my moans and groans like everybody else.

That’s fine. But when you all stick together, it shows you what can happen.

“You’ll never get it 100 per cent. There’ll always be the expert who knows better. But everybody at the club appreciates what the fans are giving.”

Supporters were impressed by an outstanding show by Johnson at right-back at Wolves and a brilliant equaliser by Antonio at Burnley.

With Kieran Lee still a doubt because of his gashed ankle, and the Owls waiting to see how Lewis Bux

ton reacts to training, having overcome his hamstring injury, Johnson could be asked to play right-back again, against Hull.

Jones says: “For two of Burnley’s goals, JJ was done at the far post, but in the previous game at Wolves he was outstanding and dealt with everything at the far post.

“That’s not his fault, because I’m playing him in a position that’s not his.

But he’s there. He’s just not dealt with it.”

Antonio has also been mixed in his fortunes, in the manager’s view: “Michail scored an unbelievable goal. But he missed two sitters before that.

“If he can score the easy ones, and the spectacular ones come along later, we’ll be really happy.

“We paid a lot of money for Michail. He hasn’t performed anywhere what we know he is capable of. We got close to it the other night, but he still made mistakes. He also played a fantastic cross for the first goal but in the previous game he’s put eight crosses in and not hit the target once.

“You have to keep battering away, working at it, and concentrate on what you’re supposed to be doing.

“Every player here will go through some sort of period where it doesn’t always work out for him.

“The only way, in any walk of life, is to keep working at it.”

Teams and ref

OWLS (possible): Kirkland, Buxton, Taylor, Gardner, Mattock, Semedo, Bothroyd, Barkley, McCabe, Antonio, O’Grady (4-1-4-1).

TIGERS (possible): Amos, Rosenior, Faye, McCshane, Dudgeon, Elmohamady, McKenna, Olofinjana, Quinn, Koren, Aluko (4-4-1-1).

Jonathan Moss (Leeds): He is a 41, a teacher by profession, and was promoted to the Premier League list last year. The last three of his five games this season have been in the top flight: West Brom v Everton, Southampton v Villa and Stoke v Swansea.