Jones: I aim to get Owls back in to top flight

New Sheffield Wednesday manager says he would only have dropped into League One for two clubs

After nine months out of the game, Dave Jones yesterday told The Independent that he has made the right decision to take charge of Sheffield Wednesday, who he has joined on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

The former Cardiff City manager, who has been desperate to return to management after numerous false promises, met the Wednesday players for the first time yesterday after taking over from Gary Megson, with whom the club parted company this week.

Jones, 55, will be at Rochdale for Wednesday's League One game today but will leave team selection to Chris Evans, Megson's assistant, before taking over officially tomorrow, having shaken hands on the deal with the Owls chairman, Milan Mandaric, in a Sheffield hotel on Thursday.

Jones, who spent six years at Cardiff as the longest-serving manager in the Championship, takes over at Hillsborough with Wednesday in third spot, five points behind the second automatic promotion place held by rivals Sheffield United.

It is understood Mandaric had targeted Jones for several weeks and wanted him in place before last weekend's Steel City derby, when Megson signed off with a 1-0 victory.

Jones, who managed both Southampton and Wolves in the Premier League, was not keen to resume his managerial career in the third tier of English football but views Wednesday as an exception. "There are only two clubs I would have done it for – the two Sheffield clubs," said Jones, who has been doing media work since losing his job at Cardiff at the end of last season. "It's a massive challenge but Wednesday are one of the bastions of football. It's a proper club, if you like. I've always had a feeling for them.

"The chairman spoke to various people about me, including [the Tottenham manager] Harry Redknapp, and I can't wait to get started. We've already had a long chat and hit it off straight away. The ambition is, obviously, promotion, but ultimately to get them into the Premiership. I've recharged my batteries – the golf handicap is down to four – and now I'm ready to go again."

Jones, whose family live in the Welsh countryside outside Cardiff, will look for an apartment in the Sheffield area. He knows he only has 12 games to work his magic and may well opt to bring in his former back-room staff at Cardiff.

"I've met the board and they seem to like what they heard," Jones said. "It's about trying to take this club to where they used to be. Gary managed to get them into a more than respectable position. It's up to me to take that on. But I have a reputation for rebuilding and that's what I aim to do."

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