Former Sheffield Wednesday captain Darren Purse is backing his former manager Dave Jones to bring the glory days back to Hillsborough.
Purse, captain when the Owls were relegated from the Championship two years ago, left Wednesday last year after a troubled two-year spell, but believes Jones – who was his manager for four years at Cardiff City – can make amends and return the club to the second tier of English football.
A win today will guarantee Wednesday elevation, in the second automatic promotion spot behind champions Charlton, and centre-half Purse believes Jones will not be happy with just Championship football.
“He knows how to put a Championship side together and win promotion to the Premier League,” said 35-year-old Purse, now playing for Plymouth Argyle.
“If Wednesday do get into the Championship, then that will obviously be on his agenda.
“I spent four years with Dave at Cardiff and have spoken to him since he went to Sheffield Wednesday. He’s a top manager and a top bloke.
“If anybody deserves to get them promoted – obviously Gary Megson did his bit earlier on in the season – keeping the players relaxed, then it’s Dave Jones.
“I really enjoyed playing under him, we had four good years at Cardiff. It was just a shame we couldn’t get promoted down there, but the club moved on in leaps and bounds under Dave as manager. I can see a similar situation happening at Sheffield Wednesday.”
Over 37,000 Owls supporters will pack into Hillsborough today, filling all four stands, with the 250 travelling Wycombe fans housed in the Leppings Lane corner.
Purse expects a home win, but hopes the Wednesday fans can keep patient if an early goal does not materialise.
“As long as the fans stay relaxed, it will help having a big crowd, but I cannot see them not winning against Wycombe, who are already relegated,” said the former England Under-21 defender.
“That could maybe make them relax a little bit, but they have nothing to play for. I can’t see anything other than a Wednesday win and it will be a great promotion party if it happens for the 37,000 Owls fans who are there.
“As a football club it deserves to be in the Championship, even higher.
“A lot of the backroom staff, Terry Burton and Paul Wilkinson, I know from my Cardiff days. I know how much work they put in off the field and they deserve to get promoted. I can see the club going from strength to strength if they do get promoted this year.”