Dave Jones today rounded on Roger Johnson’s critics but admitted the Wolves flop has “lost his way”.
The £4m misfit’s three-month loan to Sheffield Wednesday was set to be confirmed this afternoon to end his toxic spell at Molineux.
Owls’ former Wolves boss Jones, who had the 30-year-old at Cardiff, believes Johnson hasn’t been treated fairly at Molineux.
The former Birmingham centre-back fell foul of the fans after the decision to make him captain split the dressing room, performing poorly and turning up to train the worse for wear. He was also involved in a furious on-pitch bust-up with Wayne Hennessey and applauded Wigan fans when he was taunted by Wolves supporters.
Jones hit back, saying: “People say he’s got baggage but I know the lad. Whatever has been said about him, you’d have to ask the people why they’ve said it and for what reason.
Somewhere along the line he’s lost his way a little bit. Whatever has gone on doesn’t really affect us – it’s what he does here now that’s important. I’ve known Roger for a long time. He did fantastically well for me and he’s a very good player. For whatever reason, we’ve been given the chance to get him and we’re grateful for that.”
Wolves rejected two loan approaches from Wednesday for Johnson because they didn’t suit the club before agreeing to this switch.
Jones admitted: “Sometimes when it doesn’t work out for someone at a club you test the water to see if they’re available but he wasn’t available when I went for him last time. It’s up to him. I can only give him the stage to go and perform on.”
Jones believes Johnson has suffered from his exile after being excluded from the first-team squad since June. “To be stuck in the stands and see the lads doing their run-throughs on a Friday when you’re not involved is disheartening – it’s like being injured,” said Jones.
“It’s soul destroying and I hope he just wants to get back on track and prove the player he is.”
Jones is confident Johnson will toe the line at Hillsborough.
“Roger knows what my principles are, what I expect from my players so he will come here under no illusions,” he added.