‘It will take big characters to pull us out of this situation’

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY are deep in trouble.

Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones.

This, of course, is no earth-shattering revelation. The Championship table speaks volumes about how perilous the Owls’ position is right now.

One victory and just 11 points from 15 games underscore why Dave Jones’s men find themselves in the bottom three.

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With a fixture list that will see Wednesday take on teams from the top six in each of their next three games, there is unlikely to be any let-up soon as Blackpool, Leicester City and Nottingham Forest look to deepen the woes at Hillsborough.

No wonder, therefore, that the pressure is mounting on Jones after his side were booed off at both half- and full-time of the derby defeat to Huddersfield Town.

When asked about speculation over his future at the club, the Owls’ chief said: “It is part and parcel of being a football manager. If you are not doing well, people always think change is for the best.

“That is human nature. I come in at 8am every day and I go home at 8pm. I work hard and the staff work hard.

“Of course, I have got to be prepared and ready for those type of questions. You reporters have a job to do, but I look at it in a positive way.

“I have said it before and I will say it again. There have been so many managers here – when do you stop?

“There is no magic formula, except hard work. What I do know is me and my staff work, work and work, because we want to get it right.

“But people have to remember that I did not kick a ball out there. I didn’t make a pass. But we all have a responsibility because I pick the team. I then expect them to go out and perform.

“We all have a responsibility, every single one of us. I won’t single anyone out because we are all in it together. It will take big characters to pull us out of this.”

One victory – the 5-2 triumph over Reading earlier this month – is a poor return for the effort that Wednesday have put in this season.

It could – and should – have been more, with refereeing decisions and bad luck having conspired against the South Yorkshire club at times this season.

Even so, a return of one win from what is almost a third of the season has got the alarm bells ringing in S6.

A look back through history in the second tier since three points for a win was introduced in 1981-82 shows that Wednesday are the 14th team to reach this stage of a campaign with one win or less.

Of those, nine subsequently went down, Rotherham United being the most recent in 2004-5.

After 15 games, the Millers were yet to register a victory and Ronnie Moore’s side finished bottom with 29 points.

Others to have suffered an identical fate include Huddersfield Town, who in both the 1987-88 and 2000-01 seasons managed just one win in the opening 15 matches.

All is not lost for Wednesday, with four clubs – Ipswich (2009-10), Huddersfield (1997-98), Hull City (1989-90) and Derby (1982-83) – having stayed in the second tier despite having one win or less at this stage of a campaign.

For the Owls to repeat that feat, there will have to be a big improvement on Saturday’s efforts against Huddersfield.

Jones’s side were second best all over with only the introduction of Jermaine Johnson at half-time bringing any form of life to their attacking play.

Connor Wickham may have pulled a goal back deep into stoppage time with a well-taken free-kick, but it could not deflect from a below-par display.

Despite making four changes – including dropping Chris Kirkland because, according to Jones, “we hadn’t kept a clean sheet and I didn’t feel he was playing near to the standard I would expect from him” – Wednesday produced a performance similar to the 3-0 defeat at Derby County a fortnight earlier.

When asked if he was confident chairman Milan Mandaric would give him the time to turn things round, Jones added: “I can’t answer that question, but I would hope I will be.

“I don’t see why I should keep having to bring up my record (as a manager). It is there and it cannot be shot at. This season it is a hard fight and not a nice situation to be in.

“But I am not going to give up and walk away. I am made of sterner stuff than that. What I need is for the players to understand that so they can fight and scrap their way out of it.”

Kamil Zayatte is facing between six and 10 weeks out after injuring his ankle.