Sheffield Wednesday: Mandaric strategy pays off

Stuart Gray all smiles during the Leeds game
Stuart Gray all smiles during the Leeds game

For those of us who expected a quick appointment, the last six weeks have been what footballers and managers like to call a learning curve, writes Paul Thompson.

Who would have guessed after the sacking of Dave Jones on December 1 that Stuart Gray would still be in charge in the second half of January?

Gray isn’t the only one who’s got his selection and tactics right in that period.

Milan Mandaric’s strategy has been a winner - though it has been puzzling in some eyes.

There have been various theories about why Gray has not been awarded the job despite significantly improved results and performances.

The rumours have included an imminent takeover, the cost of bringing in new men, Gray’s lack of a proven track record as a manager, and the lining-up of someone else.

But actually the chairman’s policy simply seems to boil down to the old saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

He has a team boss whose has proved himself capable and players who are loving life under the new regime.

Could it be that a full appointment is a carrot being dangled in front of the staff and players?

Gray is striving to do the job to the best of his ability, though I am sure he would so in any circumstance, and the team are giving their all.

Has the fact that they admire Gray and want him to get the job given an extra edge to their game, with that bit of uncertainty in the air? Maybe.

Mandaric told me yesterday that a takeover is not part of the equation: “As I have said for some time, some people are interested in the acquiring the club. But I cannot say there is anything serious or on the table.

“Stuart is in a satisfactory situation. Now probably it’s a matter of time. We might do something this week or in the first part of next week.

“We are doing quite well. When something is going well, you support it.”

The chairman obviously has been in no rush, and remains in no rush. I get the feeling that he refuses to be pressured in his decision-making

All things considered, to me Gray still looks on course to get the job, even if the Owls do not succeed tomorrow against a side who are unbeaten at home.