Mandaric pledges to stick by his new arrival in summer

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SHEFFIELD Wednesday chairman Milan Mandaric has vowed to stick with Dave Jones even if his new manager fails to secure promotion this season.

With 13 games to play, the Owls are third in the League One table and five points adrift of second-placed Sheffield United, who also have a game in hand.

Although Jones is not giving up the chase for automatic promotion, the Owls may yet have to settle for the play-offs.

Jones, who has signed a three-and-a-half year deal, is the third manager to work under Mandaric since his acquisition of the Hillsborough club 16 months ago.

“If he doesn’t make it this season, we will go and do it next season together,” said Mandaric. “He’s a very experienced manager with a tremendous amount of credibility.

“We needed a fresh change and I couldn’t find a better man. You look at his references and talk to those people – the last chairman he worked for (Peter Ridsdale) and the other two are the highest profile football people in this country, Harry Redknapp and Sir Alex Ferguson. I like his background and what he has accomplished in his life. He is liked by his players and gets the best out of his players.”

Mandaric, who allowed former manager Gary Megson to sign Reading winger Michail Antonio on loan last week, says there is further scope to strengthen the squad if required.

“He will be fully supported, like every manager I have had, fully supported to do what we need to do,” said Mandaric. “He will have the same pressure as I do. He hasn’t come here just to see a rose garden. He has come here because we have a pressure because we have thousands of supporters who are desperate for success and that is what we are going to hand to them.”

Jones met his new players for the first time yesterday lunchtime but has not been involved in preparations for today’s game at Rochdale.

“I spoke to the players for 20 minutes and there was good banter,” Jones said. “They know where I stand. They know I am not coming in to be their mate, I am coming in as their boss and I’m coming in to try and achieve what they want. If we do that, it will be life changing.

“Players will get on with things as they always do,” he insisted. “Whether they liked the previous manager or didn’t like him, it’s me now who has to call the shots and that is what I will do.”

Jones has no plans at this stage to replace the club’s backroom staff. Assistant manager Chris Evans, in the dug-out with coach Neil Thompson this afternoon, was previously Academy director at Jones’s former club Wolves.