Sheffield Wednesday winger Jermaine Johnson returned to first team action for the first time on Saturday and did so with immediate effect, inspiring the Owls to a 2-0 victory at Yeovil.
Johnson had missed the whole of the season prior to Saturday through injury and although the Owls had made a steady enough start to the campaign in his absence their success to date has been based primarily on defensive solidity rather than attacking flair.
With the weekend game at Huish Park locked at 0-0 Owls boss Alan Irvine introduced JJ into the fold with half an hour to go and within ten minutes he had unlocked the home side’s defence.
Picking the ball up on the left-hand edge of the penalty area the Jamaican cut inside his marker and unleashed a fierce drive that gave the visitors the lead. With ten minutes to go his well-placed pass picked out the run of full back Jon Otsemobor and when the defender was brought down, Tommy Miller scored from the resulting spot kick to make the game safe.
Having made such an impact in his first 30 minutes of the season the promise is of more to come and Irvine highlighted his importance post-match in stating: “We have missed his ability to beat people and the pace he has got, which scares people to death.”
JJ played a starring role in Irvine’s first match in charge back in January at Barnsley when deployed as a second striker he produced a man of the match display, scoring in a 2-1 win.
He started the next game in the same fashion before picking up an injury and when he returned to action more than six weeks later his influence helped the side earn a 2-0 win over Leicester City, bringing a three-match losing streak to an end.
Further injury set backs resulted in a stop-start end to the 2009-10 season for the winger who ended the campaign with seven goals in 30 starts. Had he been fit during the final two months of the season then Wednesday may well have been able to preserve their Championship status such was influence on the team at the time and the tight margins by which relegation was eventually decided.
If JJ can stay fit and add a level of consistency to his ability to make a positive impact on games then the excitement levels at Hillsborough are likely to rise as he continues his return to action.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.