Sheffield Wednesday: Owls tackle hard task

Caolan Lavery, left, made hiis debut as a sub against Burnley
Caolan Lavery, left, made hiis debut as a sub against Burnley

Even a manager of Dave Jones’ experience must find it hard going at times, writes Paul Thompson.

Take the current position at Hillsborough.

He lost important players to injuries and has not yet been able to sign some that he wants.

Players must go first before others can be hired, in order to balance the books.

But how could he afford to offload players when the squad was so stretched?

Just finding other homes for players not in the club’s plans may not be easy either. Someone will have to want them: they will have to agree to go, and even if they do then would the saving meet the cost of players of the calibre that the Owls need?

It is going to take delicate timing, perhaps, to redevelop the squad without weakening it.

The subs for the Burnley match included a young goalkeeper (Adam Davies), two centre halves (Miguel Llera and Martin Taylor), an untried 20-year-old striker (Caolan Lavery), and a young midfield player (Paul Corry) who was earmarked to go out on loan for experience before the injuries bit.

Add Jermaine Johnson, who got himself sent off at Rotherham; Lewis Buxton, Reda Johnson, Kieran Lee, Joe Mattock and Gary Madine to the squad, and things will look a bit better.

But in some respects the squad looks very similar to last season’s, when it was a running battle to avoid relegation, with significant help from loan players.

The team that ultimately stayed up included five loan men: Danny Pugh, Leroy Lita, Steve Howard, Jeremy Helan and Seyi Olofinjana.

Reda Johnson for Pugh at left back would represent an improvement; Kamil Zayatte is clearly seen by Jones as an improvement on Miguel Llera once he gets settled in properly; Atdhe Nuhiu is shaping up as the goalscoring target man that the team lacked last season; Helan was a good full signing, no doubt; Rafa Floro has been thrust in out of necessity rather than because he is truly ready for it.

There is work to be done, chiefly the signing of a midfield player and a striker, and Milan Mandaric, who holds the purse strings, seems to be aware of that.

I share Jones’ view that now is no time for panic, and Mandaric’s standpoint that you cannot fully judge a team after only two League games.

Positives include the fact that Wednesday have not been badly beaten in any of their three matches. Will that elusive win come at Elland Road tomorrow?