DAVE JONES has leapt to the defence of under-fire striker Jay Bothroyd following fresh criticism of his recent performances from fans.
The loan striker is rapidly becoming the fall guy with sections of the Sheffield Wednesday support, decidedly non-plussed with his languid style of play, which boss Jones believes is wrongly perceived as a lack of passion.
The Owls chief is the first to admit that Bothroyd, who took a swipe at criticism from some fans via Twitter after being brought off in just his third appearance for the club against Bolton Wanderers, has more in his locker to show to Wednesdayities.
But Jones feels the 30-year-old, largely utilised in a right-sided forward role – finding the net once and being substituted seven times – has shown glimpses of his quality.
And his overriding concern remains that his side cut out the defensive errors which have bedevilled their campaign, in order to climb the Championship table.
On Bothroyd, at Hillsborough until January, Jones said: “He comes with quality, but sometimes everybody wants someone with a work-rate and a runner and a chaser. When they do not see someone doing that and being all blood, guts and thunder, they think they are not doing something.
“But Jay gives us something. If you look at the chances we have created, a lot have come from passes from Jay such as one of the goals we scored against Peterborough and our goal at Middlesbrough.
“Players who have these lazy demeanour about them will get ridiculed. I had the same with Peter Whittingham (at Cardiff). But then you looked at what he produced and gave.
“It is how you see it. There are 25,000 fans here and 25,000 managers! Everyone will always have an opinion.
“Can Jay do more? Yes, of course he can. Because he has got that in his locker and he has got to do more. But he also brings a quality and a passing range and control we do not always have.”
Meanwhile, Jones has challenged Gary Madine to earn a regular starting spot and lessen his need to enter the transfer market for a new striker.
The north-easterner, who will lead the line at Nottingham Forest tomorrow, was linked with a switch to Swindon Town ahead of netting his first league goal of the season at Boro last Friday.
“Maybe with Gary getting back on his game again and looking stronger, it will supply us with goals. It is up to him now, He has got the shirt and must prove he can do that,” added Jones.