Sheffield Wednesday: Owls players stay positive

Atdhe Nuhiu looks set to start against Reading
Atdhe Nuhiu looks set to start against Reading

The only voices echoing around Hillsborough yesterday were those of the players and staff as a training session was carried out.

Dave Jones decided to switch the work from Middlewood just to give the squad an extra feel of the main stadium.

It will have an entirely different atmosphere tomorrow as around 20,000 Wednesday fans back their team hoping for a first win of the season and an end to undistinguished home form.

While many of those supporters will walk through the turnstiles feeling worried, with the Owls bottom of the table and seemingly putting on their best shows away, Dave Jones insists that the mood inside the camp is buoyant.

“Everybody is working hard, up for it and wanting to do well,” he says.

“We need everybody to stick together: the fans have been fantastic; we need them to stay right behind the players.

“It’s just frustrating for everybody: a couple of wins and the look of the table changes, and those draws we’ve got look like good draws.

“But we’ve got to get that win.

“We have to stay positive; the players are. There has been a good mood around the camp for many, many weeks.

“Although we’re frustrated, it doesn’t mean there’s not a good feeling around the place - there is a good atmosphere, Matty Fryatt wanting to stay was a reflection of that.

“Everybody is working so hard. They’re an honest group of players. They might lack a bit of quality - that’s why they’re playing in this division, because there’s a flaw somewhere - they have to keep working at it.

“This division can propel you into the Premier League, but it’s a hard division, and no matter what league you’re in, you have to keep working at it. That’s what ours do. They do stick together. That’s what they are asking everybody else to do.”

The plan of attack tomorrow seems likely to include another return to a home starting line-up for Atdhe Nuhiu, who has been used sparingly away.

Says Jones: “When foreign players come this country it can take them a while to adjust to the tempo and intensity. Atdhe showed in the second half last week that he’s getting somewhere near it.

“He’s got to keep pushing himself, keep demanding the ball more, keeping working hard. He wants to bring the ball down on his chest in certain areas - that isn’t going to work in this division.”

“But in every game he has played he has had chances.”

The need to take opportunities is something that Jones has been drumming into all the players this week, amid plenty of work on attacking play.

“We have a go in every game,” he says. “We haven’t played as well here at Hillsborough as in away games. We trained here just to give the players a feel of the place, if there’s any fear about playing here - I don’t think there is. It just hasn’t happened here.

“This is where the majority of our fans come. We have to give them something. We want them to be that extra man.

“We need everybody together. We need to get a win. The longer it goes without one, the more the pressure mounts, and your players have to stand up to that. They’re doing that.”

A recall for Nuhiu, in place of Jermaine Johnson, would see him partner Fryatt up front.

Jones points out that against Ipswich in the last home game, Fryatt had a chance almost identical to the one he put away at Barnsley. His volley in the Ipswich game was saved.

“He feels he is getting sharper: a fit Matty takes those chances. He looks fit, strong and bright, and you only get that by playing.”

Seyi Olofinjana looks sure to play the first home game of his second spell with the club after being plunged into the Oakwell derby on the day after signing a short-term contract.

“He’s trained with us, so we know he’s fit,” says Jones. “It’s just that match sharpness that he has to get, as has been the case with other players we have brought in.”

Fitness issues over Giles Coke and Roger Johnson have cleared up, but Jose Semedo is still suspended.