Dave Jones has vowed to fight for his Hillsborough future as Sheffield Wednesday face a week which could define their season.
Pressure is mounting on manager Jones to halt a shocking run in the Championship of just two wins from 17 games – including six successive defeats – which has seen the Owls plummet into the relegation zone.
With back-to-back games against fellow strugglers Bristol City and Barnsley in the next seven days, Jones is desperate not to tarnish his impressive CV with the stain of relegation.
“I don’t want to lose my job, of course I don’t,” said Jones. “But if it happens, it won’t be for the want of trying. That’s never been in question.
“I haven’t become a bad manager overnight. Do I believe in my ability? Yes, I do. Do I believe I can shake these up to get out? Yes, I do.
“But along the way you need a little help as well. That comes from within, that’s all of us. We win together. The problem in football, if you win it’s the players, if you lose it’s the manager.
“What will be, will be. All of a sudden I am a bad manager? My record says it’s very rare I am in this position. Because I am in this position do I become a bad manager?
“Everyone will always have an opinion. My record is there to be shot at. I believe in my ability, it doesn’t just disappear. What you also have to remember, it just isn’t me, we are all in this together.
“Changing the person at the top can have an effect sometimes, short term, but if there is other underlying problems then whoever comes in has problems as well.
“I am in a results-based business and at the moment we are not getting the results.
“If they bring in someone else will he get them? Who knows.
“But I am never fearful of losing my job. I don’t want to lose it, never have done wherever I have been. But I have won things and been in a higher position, far more points than here, and I have left the job. That’s the life we are in.
“It’s a similar situation (to) when I first went to Cardiff. We just staved off relegation, battling for points. It was similar at Wolves; we just scraped staying in the Championship and then all of a sudden we got promoted. But it takes time, everybody wants that magic formula.”
Jones, who was brought in after Gary Megson was sacked in February, met with Owls chairman and owner Milan Mandaric yesterday.
The Wednesday manager told Mandaric he believes his side can climb away from danger but that everyone needed to “hold their nerve” in the relegation scrap.
“I have been with the chairman (yesterday morning). Of course, he is not happy,” said Jones, former Cardiff City and Wolverhampton manager.
“I am not happy, and the fans aren’t happy. But it’s about keeping hold of your nerve.
“How long do you give someone? I have been here about six months. Come on, behave yourself, if that’s (the sack) going to happen then fine, I will go on to the next job. And if I do well in the next job, people will kick themselves and wish they would have kept me.
“That’s the life I am in. I have just been very lucky in my career, or have I been lucky, or just been good at what I have done because of the lengths of times I have stayed at football clubs?
“At the moment things seem okay with the chairman. We go out for dinner and he still pays; if that changes then there might be a problem.
“I know he’s not happy. He’s told and shown me his concerns, which I would expect just as much as I do with the people who work below me.
“It’s not a blase ‘whatever happens, happens’ because I don’t want that (failure) on my CV.
“No way do I want that on it, when all my CV shows is good, good, good. I want to keep that and that’s why I drive the team on to achieve that.
“We are not halfway through the season yet. We are not adrift and we are hanging in there.”
Jones accepts he is under the spotlight as the Owls battle to avoid the drop, but insists there is no strife within the club.
“There’s no rifts,” he stressed. “All the old cliches come out like ‘have you lost the dressing room?’ Well, unless it’s a prefab and it moves from time time, I don’t know where it goes,” he joked.
“Then there will be rumours flying around; this manager’s here and that manager is getting interviewed. It’s just a continual spiral.
“Everyone always know something, but sometimes they know something about nothing, because it’s not happening.”
Today’s visit of Bristol City – tied with the Owls on 15 points, just above basement side Peterborough United and two points worse off than fourth-from-bottom Barnsley – increases the pressure on Wednesday to get a result, but Jones is trying to shield his team from the mental burdens this can bring.
“Every game is important because of what is up for grabs, but there is a little bit more added to it because of the situation we are in,” he said.
“I understand though the significance it has for everybody because of our situation. The problem is if you start piling on the pressure, then you lose sight of what you actually have to do and go get the points on the park, rather than a mental battle.
“That’s what happens sometimes; they get it all mashed up in their heads, they forget what they actually have to do on the pitch.”
Owls midfielder gunning for Bristol City: Page 3.