‘Pantomime villain’ Warnock on Owls’ five-man shortlist to replace axed Jones

Neil Warnock.
Neil Warnock.
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Sheffield Wednesday fans have a motto of ‘in Milan we trust’ and their faith could be put to the test after Neil Warnock was confirmed last night to be on a five-name shortlist to replace axed manager Dave Jones.

Owls chairman Milan Mandaric saved the club from financial ruin three years ago and has helped stabilise the Hillsborough club, winning promotion to the Championship.

Now Mandaric has a five-man shortlist to replace Jones – sacked on Sunday after just one win in 17 games – which includes former Leeds United and Sheffield United boss Warnock.

The Yorkshire Post reported on Tuesday that Warnock and Rotherham United’s Steve Evans were on the wanted list, but the Millers quickly rebuffed Wednesday’s approach.

The 65-year-old Warnock is unpopular with Wednesday supporters – ranging from a pantomime villain figure to pure hatred – but Mandaric says Owls fans must trust him to make an appointment that is “best for the club”.

Asked if Warnock was on his shortlist to take over, Mandaric said: “Yes, he is.

“It doesn’t mean he will be our manager. There are four or five names and he is one of them. I will explain to our supporters no matter who I bring here or do not bring here is for no other reason than what is best for the club.

“We are in a difficult situation so we need to bring somebody with a capability to galvanise the club, galvanise the team and take us to where we belong.

“We have good enough players and we should not be at the bottom of the table. And whoever comes there I have to have full trust that he will be the person that will take us where our supporters want to be.

“And if that happens to be Neil Warnock I would have to adjust by that and there should be no problem at that time, but at this time it is not Neil Warnock.

“It’s not one name. There are four or five people. I will be talking to them and interviewing them to see what is their desire and whoever is that person I will come out and give our supporters a full explanation why that person is going to be their manager for their club.”

Warnock wants the Owls job on a short-term basis, until the end of the season.

First-team coach Stuart Gray helped the Owls pick up their second win this term with a battling 2-1 win over league leaders Leicester City on Tuesday, but is not on the shortlist.

“Not at this time,” Mandaric said. “But Stuart is a very good coach, we are very lucky to have him there so it gives us time and an opportunity to take our time in bringing in the proper person rather than rush.

“Of course, there is no ruling out and there is some possibility if Stuart can take us on a run.”

Mandaric held interviews yesterday, and will continue today while Gray is set to remain in charge for Saturday’s visit of Nottingham Forest.