Megson's tough love pays off as Wednesday climb into second spot

Sheffield Wednesday 3 Chesterfield 1
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The Independent Online

Gary Megson does not pretend he has not made mistakes during a sometimes turbulent career in management but his tough line on discipline will not soften – and so far at Hillsborough his hard-nosed approach to man-management is paying off.

Resurgent Wednesday's fourth win in a row made it six out of six at home, lifting them to second in the League One table. Yet it came in a week when Megson had fined one player for picking up a yellow card for dissent, another for a sending-off and also moved to ban alcohol in the players' lounge. "I have a reputation as a manager for making clubs better but you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs and you are always going to upset a few people," he said.

Megson had to deal with disaffected players during the rough ride he endured as Bolton manager. Now he seems to have found a dressing room willing to embrace his methodology, tough as it is. "I think the boss's professionalism and his stance on discipline have had a big influence," club captain Rob Jones said of his manager's tough approach.

"He's brought guidelines in for a reason – he likes things done properly with every detail attended to. Players have to toe the line and if they fall by the wayside they will get punished."

Jones led by example on Saturday, winning ball after ball in the air as Chesterfield, two down to goals from Lewis Buxton and Gary Madine – one of the players fined – fought back to 2-1 through ex-Wednesday forward Leon Clarke before the excellent Ben Marshall put the result at Hillsborough beyond doubt.

Megson's stock with fans is on the up too after his bitter experience at the Reebok. His Wednesday roots meant his commitment was never in doubt but his appointment in February was still greeted with scepticism. It is fading now and will be eliminated completely if he can engineer a win in his next game, away to Sheffield United on Sunday.

It is Megson's first derby despite more than 250 appearances as a Wednesday player, but he doesn't expect to enjoy it, even if the result is the one he wants. "It is a big thing for me because of my background – being manager of Sheffield Wednesday is a big thing for me. But as a manager, you don't really enjoy games like this," explained Megson as he looked ahead to next weekend's crunch match in the steel city.

He added: "You just try to make sure your team approaches it in the right way. Our form will not count for nearly as much as things like work-rate and desire."

Discipline, too, he might have mentioned, considering his new tough guy approach.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Bywater; Buxton, Batth, Jones, Bennett; Marshall, Lines, Semedo, O'Connor (Johnson 53); Madine (McGoldrick 90+4), O'Grady (Sedgwick 72). Substitutes not used: O'Donnell (gk), Reynolds.

Chesterfield (4-4-2): Fleming; Talbot, Downes, Holden, Grounds; Mendy, Randall, Allott (Whitaker 75), Morgan; Westcarr (Bowery h-t), Clarke. Substitutes not used: Ford, Clay, Smith (gk).

Referee: K Wright (Cambridgeshire)

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