DAVE JONES may believe the time has come for Miguel Llera to dispose of his “lucky” skull cap in the wake of Sheffield Wednesday’s losing run being extended to half a dozen games.
But the Owls manager is equally adamant that his players have the fighting spirit and determination to fight their way out of trouble at the wrong end of the Championship.
Sunday’s defeat at Cardiff City means Wednesday have taken just eight points from a possible 51 to slide into the relegation zone.
Jones said: “Being in the bottom three is not a feeling I like. It is a long, long time since I have been in this position. Normally, you take things for granted.
“I have to believe the players are working hard enough and want to do it. If they continue to do that, I won’t have anything bad said about them.
“They might not have the quality in certain things, but with sheer determination and willpower, they will win more than they should lose.
“When things aren’t going well then you feel the world is against you. That is what I have said to them. You make your own luck, no one will give us a result.
“At Cardiff, they came off wondering how they had lost it. The answer was because we switched off at a vital moment. We should have put our foot through the ball and cleared it.
“The players are giving everything they have got. The difference can be a free-kick, a little bit of quality or lack of (it). But you pay for that. We are trying to turn players into Championship players, but I can’t fault one of them in the club for the effort being given.
“We have tried a system to get the ball down and knock it about. It works for a time, but then stronger squads will take charge. That is the learning curve.”
Llera, again sporting the protective headgear he first donned in February after suffering a nasty cut against Exeter City, was Wednesday’s outstanding performer in Sunday’s defeat to Cardiff.
On the Spanish defender who retained the skull cap as the Owls stormed to promotion, a smiling Jones added: “Now it is maybe time Miguel took his lucky hat off. If that’s lucky, I think he needs to burn it.”
Llera could be joined in the Owls’ defence by Anthony Gardner this Saturday when Bristol City come to Hillsborough for the first part of a double-header against relegation rivals that will also see Jones take his side to Barnsley on December 15.
The former Hull City defender missed the trip to Wales but is expected to be fit.
Jay Bothroyd, though, is out for two or three weeks with an ankle ligament injury while Jose Semedo is a major doubt to face the Robins after missing the Cardiff defeat with a seven-inch gash that he suffered under his knee in training.