Dave Jones is hoping to hand himself a Christmas gift by keeping Manchester City defender Jeremy Helan at Hillsborough.
The 20-year-old Frenchman shone in Sheffield’s Wednesday’s win over Charlton on Saturday, and back-to-back victories have lifted them out of the Championship relegation zone.
Helan netted the Owls’ second goal in stoppage time to cap an impressive home performance which had seen former Rangers youngster Rhys McCabe volley Wednesday ahead with a spectacular first-half effort.
Jones and chairman Milan Mandaric hope they can convince the Premier League champions to allow Helan to stay at Hillsborough after his one-month loan spell expired following Saturday’s game.
The same goes for on-loan striker Mamady Sidibe, who is set to return to Stoke City unless the clubs can agree to extend the deal.
“I thought Jeremy did really well for his goal and it rounded off an excellent performance for the boy,” said Jones.
“It’s his last game and we are going to sit down with him and Manchester City and see what we do. I am going to have a chat with the chairman before he goes away.
“It’s no secret we are on the lookout for players – we want to try and strengthen. I think it’s important we can keep as many players as we can.
“There’s a lot of tired bodies there and it’s not long before we go again, so we’ll probably have to change it again.
“At this time of the year, you have to rotate because it’s impossible just trying to plough players through. That’s when you pick up injuries and there are a lot of tired bodies around.
“We don’t want to let bodies go and then all of a sudden find us down to the bare bones. We know what we are looking for and will continue to chase them.
“I get on well with the chairman, he is good company, and he just wants the best for this football club. I am trying to give him that.”
Helan had arguably his best game in a Wednesday shirt after being pushed forward from his usual left-back spot to make way for the returning Reda Johnson after injury.
Having two left-backs operating in tandem on the left flank was reminiscent of the Nigel Worthington-Phil King combo in the early Nineties.
“We put him in there because we brought Reda back and we just felt we needed that little more protection and Jeremy gave us that,” explained Jones.
Wednesday came close to taking the lead after five minutes. David Prutton’s fierce shot was blocked by Charlton goalkeeper Ben Hamer and when Gary Madine knocked the ball goalwards Leon Cort cleared off the line.
From the resulting corner, Anthony Gardner volleyed over after finding space at the far post.
The Owls took a deserved lead on 19 minutes, McCabe striking a sweet volley from outside the penalty area – after Miguel Llera’s corner was half cleared – for his first goal in senior football.
Chris O’Grady then sent Michail Antonio scampering away, but he dragged his effort wide of Hamer’s right-hand post.
Wednesday’s lead was precarious and Charlton twice went close to an equaliser.
The visitors should have had a penalty when Yann Kermergant and Reda Johnson tangled inside the area, but referee Gary Sutton waved play on.
Then Danny Haynes had the ball in the net after good work from Sam Kerkar down the flank, but the striker was deemed offside.
Charlton manager Chris Powell confronted Sutton on the pitch at half-time and was sent off, watching the match from the directors’ box for the second half. Powell said: “There were a number of incidents that angered me during the first half and I went to the referee at half-time and asked him about a penalty we didn’t get.
“There was a ‘goal’ ruled out for offside which was actually onside and there were also a number of fouls on my players.
“I was asking for consistency and fairness, but I didn’t swear at the referee or point at him. He sent me to the stand because he said it was for the image of the game. He said I’d left my technical area but it was half-time so what was I meant to do?
“I spoke to him at half-time in his room and he stood by his decision. I was asking in a fair and concise way, but, obviously, he didn’t see it like that. He said it was not a sending-off, but I had to sit in the directors’ box.
“We started off very well but we were chasing it after conceding a wonder goal. We’ve just got to move on now.”
Jones had some sympathy for Powell, but after being on the wrong end of numerous poor decisions this season felt Wednesday deserved some good fortune.
“It looked it,” said Jones of the penalty appeal. “But that’s the bit of luck you sometimes need. I would have been disappointed in it, but we should have had 10 penalties this year, a minimum 10. Maybe I am just getting that Christmas present nice and early.
“We are just getting that little bit of luck now and that’s what deserted them in the past.”
The second half was littered with half chances, Gardner heading Llera’s free-kick wide and O’Grady cutting inside before testing Hamer at his near post.
At the other end, former Owls defender Michael Morrison side-footed wide from a corner before Haynes missed the chance of the game. Kermergant was at the back post to tee up Haynes, but the striker scuffed his effort.
Prutton was substituted midway through the second half with a nose injury.
There was still time for Helan to claim his moment of glory in stoppage time. He danced around three defenders, showing impressive speed, before drilling his shot beyond Hamer and lifting the Owls over Barnsley and Bristol City in the table.
After seven successive defeats, consecutive wins – plus two clean sheets – means Jones will enjoy Christmas much more than it appeared just over a week ago.