After a poor start to the Owls' new campaign, Vincent Ralph turns the spotlight on their manager Dave Jones.
Last weekend’s game between QPR and Sheffield Wednesday was billed by some as the Championship match of the weekend. And in many ways it lived up to its billing, with good football from both sides and talking-points aplenty.
The result – a 2-1 win for Harry Redknapp’s side – didn’t tell the whole story. But Owls manager Dave Jones’ post-match comments filled in many of the blanks.
After seeing his side have two penalty appeals turned down – the second inexplicably – Jones vented his frustration at referee Scott Mathieson.
“It was a poor, poor performance from the referee,” Jones said, “and it spoiled everything because we’ve come here to play and played well against a team that are among the favourites for promotion.”
And they certainly did play well, adopting a counter-attacking style that could easily have seen them take something from the game, with ‘keeper Chris Kirkland excelling time and again.
Jones has been a manager long enough to know that days like this happen, when factors out of your control affect the final score and all you can do is bemoan a lack of fortune.
As much as football is about talent and tactics, it is about luck both good and bad, and last Saturday, the Owls had their fair share of the latter.
This afternoon Jones has the chance to put right the perceived wrongs of the opening weekend, with his side welcoming Burnley to Hillsborough. But the pressure of that defeat has been amplified by Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Rotherham in the League Cup.
A hat-trick of losses cannot be considered, or the pressure on Jones will be considerable before the transfer window has even swung shut.
The manager’s frustration switched from officials to players on Tuesday evening, when Jermaine Johnson was sent off for head-butting an opponent with the Owls still very much in the game.
But if Wednesday lose against a Burnley side tipped to struggle this season, Jones may have to start turning his anger on himself.
Burnley’s campaign has started considerably better than today’s opponents, with an impressive draw against Bolton followed by a 4-0 win over York.
So while the Clarets aim to prove the doubters wrong, Wednesday will be hoping to avoid their worst start to a campaign since 2007.
With the home crowd behind them, and with Jones motivated to oversee a much-needed win, that should happen.
But he has already seen what happens to some of the best laid plans, and inexplicable decisions and inexcusable choices can only be blamed for so long.
What does this season have in store for Jones and his side?
image: © Ben Sutherland