Date:Sunday October 1 2006
The latest poll on Vital Sheffield Wednesday asked users whether on-loan stopper Brad Jones is good enough to be the Owls' number one. The results are in!
And despite the Owls having one of the better defences in the Championship so far this season, a whopping 73 per cent of you thought the Australian stopper wasn't good enough to occupy the Wednesday number one jersey - no matter how long he was staying at Hillsborough for.
Jones, signed a three-month deal by Sturrock days before the Owls opening day clash with Preston North End, came in for stick from a section of Owls fans after the 2-1 defeat at Hull City in September. Although neither goals were his fault, his suspect 'keeping on crosses and corners led some Owls fans to jeer him at the KC Stadium.
And the same criticism came in the recent 1-0 defeat against Sunderland at the stadium of light where the Boro stopper opted to punch the ball rather than catch it.
Jones also came under the spotlight in the Owls derby clash with Leeds United at Hillsborough. His foul on David Healy, which later saw his red card for the incident rescinded, gave the Owls West Yorkshire rivals the spoils live in front of the SKY TV cameras. A week earlier a similar incident had led to Plymouth Argyle's consolation strike from the spot.
But despite the criticism, Jones has helped Wednesday to the joint-best defence away from home in the Championship this season with just four goals conceded from five matches away from Hillsborough.
And although the Owls home form has been nothing short of rubbish, the defensive side of things has hardly been the problem. Wednesday have simply not been able to put the ball in the back of the net.
This could well have led to 16 per cent of Vital Sheffield Wednesday users thinking Jones is good enough to occupy the number one jersey for the time being.
Owls boss Paul Sturrock brought him to the club days before the Championship opening clash with Preston North End, and his three-month deal is set to expire towards the end of this month or at the start of November - but where will that leave the Owls in terms of goalkeepers?
Now as far as I understand it you can't extend a loan player's deal over three months, so that pretty much leaves us with Chris Adamson - unless Sturrock already has someone in line to replace Jones - hence keeping the striker funds to one side. After all, a decent goalkeeper is a bigger priority than a striker, of whom we have five, isn't it (though the loan rules are so complicated this season that even Sturrock probably doesn't understand them!)?
Wednesday can still sign players without a contract during the close of the transfer window, so it could well be that the Owls gaffer snaps someone up until the end of the season, or maybe even longer?
But would Sturrock ever consider signing Jones on a permanent basis? 11 per cent of you would certainly be happy at that prospect after voting for him as good enough to be Wednesday number one.
Middlesbrough have fellow Aussie stopper Mark Schwarzer as their number one stopper with the highly-rated Ross Turnbull currently backing him up. Youngster David Knight has also been included in the Boro squad - so Jones could well be available for a full transfer.
But Owls Chairman Dave Allen has already emphasised the lack of money at the club to spend on players. Indeed, we couldn't even afford to keep Charlton winger Lloyd Sam on loan for a further month. So it's rather unlikely we would be able to afford a fee for a Premiership goalkeeper - who's wages are sure to be on the higher scale to most of our current squad.
Time will tell...
Want to have YOUR say on Brad Jones' future at Hillsborough? Visit the official Vital Sheffield Wednesday forums now to enter the debate! CLICK HERE
Date:Sunday October 1 2006
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