Wed, Sep

KENWYNE JONES was hardly a household name when he moved to Hillsborough in a loan deal from Premiership strugglers Southampton just before Christmas.

But the Trinidad and Tobago international has already got the Owls supporters chanting his name after he netted for the third consecutive match to power Wednesday into fourth spot in League One – the first time they have been in the play-offs since August.

And with a run of six wins out of their last eight League matches, Wednesday will go into their New Year's Day game with leaders Luton Town confident of extending their good run even further.

The introduction of Jones has been crucial to Wednesday's recent good form. The 20-year-old has provided a focal point for Paul Sturrock's team and he won the majority of his battles with former Hillsborough captain Dean Smith, linking excellently with partner Steve MacLean and holding the ball up to bring in his midfield runners.

Jones is only on a month's loan, but with new Saints manager Harry Redknapp looking to wheel and deal in next month's transfer window, Sturrock will be keen to make the switch permanent.

The MacLean-Jones combination led to the first goal, a one-two finishing with the latter finding the net on 27 minutes. It kept up Jones's run of having scored in his each of his first three Owls appearances.

Wednesday – who had the luxury of keeping the same side for the third match in succession as the long Hillsborough injury list fails to subside – worked tremendously hard to quell the hosts who were unlucky when Michael Cummins saw his effort blocked with goalkeeper David Lucas stranded in a goalmouth scramble.

Within 60 seconds it was 2-0 as MacLean played a glorious cross-field ball to Jon-Paul McGovern who cut inside the full-back and hammered an unstoppable shot into the top corner just before the interval.

The second-half saw Wednesday fail to match the energy levels of the first 45 minutes, with the midfield quartet of McGovern, Glenn Whelan, Joey O'Brien and Matt Hamshaw visibly tiring after playing their second game inside 48 hours.

Jones was denied a blatant penalty after being hauled down inside the box and a linesman's flag denied the Owls a third goal as MacLean looked to have been pulled up for being offside.

Vale's Billy Paynter's 89th-minute shot drew a brilliant save from Lucas as the home side pressed late on.

Port Vale: Brain, Loran, Pilkington, D Smith (Walsh 66), Brown (Eldershaw 67), Birchall, Cummins, Hulbert, J Smith, Matthews (Reid 67), Paynter.

Sheffield Wednesday: Lucas, Bullen, Lee, Wood, Heckingbottom, McGovern, Whelan, O'Brien, Hamshaw (Brunt 76), Jones (Talbot 82), MacLean.

Referee: S Tanner (S Gloucestershire).