Owls cannot afford to concentrate on stopping Rhodes

Jordan Rhodes scored four goals the last time Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday met, but talk of the Scottish striker has not dominated the Owls’ preparations for today’s vital League One fixture.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 7th April 2012, 9:29 am

Rhodes has scored 36 goals in 33 league appearances this season, including a hat-trick at Leyton Orient on Tuesday night which revitalised Huddersfield’s hopes of gatecrashing the automatic promotion places.

He gave Town a 2-0 lead in the December meeting at Hillsborough before netting twice late on to rescue a point in a thrilling 4-4 draw.

Dave Jones was not manager of the Owls at the time, but having orchestrated a sequence of 16 points in six games since succeeding Gary Megson – a run that earned Jones the manager of the month award – he is confident Wednesday can take the game to Huddersfield, regardless of their lethal frontman.

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“If you start worrying about one person, someone else is going to pop up so you look at them as a team,” said Jones, who has his own striker in form, Gary Madine.

“You speak to the players who will come into contact with him (Rhodes) and try and give them advice on the best way to deal with those people.

“But we’ve got attacking talents as well. Both teams are attacking well and playing well so it’s got all the ingredients.

“I’m not going there not to have a go. We start with a point so we’ll try and get three.

“I’m not going to sit back and defend, it’s not my way.”

Madine might not have the season-long body of work as Rhodes can boast, but he has found the net five times in the last six games.

The 21-year-old was booked for kicking the ball away against Preston and got involved in an angry exchange with the opposition bench last Saturday, although Jones dismissed it as youthful enthusiasm on the part of his leading goalscorer.

While Jones may not be worried about Rhodes, left-back Reda Johnson still remembers the afternoon when the Scotland international tormented the Owls back line.

“I hope he was lucky and doesn’t do the same this weekend,” joked Johnson, who has forced his way back into the side after being injured when Wednesday changed managers. “We know him now, we’ve got the players to stop him. We’ve got good centre-backs who can keep him quiet.”

The lunchtime kick-off also gives Wednesday the chance to leapfrog Sheffield United into second place, as they have done the last two weekends.

On both occasions, the Blades have retaken the initiative and Johnson says: “We are watching the rest of the teams but the most important thing is to concentrate on our own performance.

“I’m sure if we win all our games they will miss out on one.

“Congratulations to Sheffield United, they’ve played well this season, but it’s not finished.

“I think United will watch the game so, hopefully, we can do a job.”

Wednesday hope to have Jose Semedo (ill) and David Prutton (family matters) available. Rob Jones is suspended.