Gray hopes to avoid losing loan rangers

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Stuart Gray celebrates his first Sheffield Wednesday “birthday” tomorrow - and the Owls caretaker manager’s biggest wish is to avoid a phone call from Gus Poyet or Kenny Jackett.

For Gray, who joined former boss Dave Jones’ backroom staff last December, is relying heavily on loan stars Connor Wickham and Roger Johnson.

And, with a mounting injury list disrupting his preparations for Saturday’s home game against Bournemouth, Gray is hoping to avoid either player being recalled early, by Sunderland or Wolves respectively: “At this moment in time, it is a case of shutting down one or two players who have knocks and strains and putting them back out there again,” he said.

“But, with the window being shut, you are worried the phone is going to ring and you are going to lose your loan players as well.”

Another player with their long-term future still in doubt is Stephen McPhail, whose short-term deal at Hillsborough runs out in January.

“None of the players know who the manager will be, so no one knows who will be going or staying,” he said.

“But once the manager situation is sorted, I’m sure they will talk to us then. If everything goes to plan and the club want me to stay, I’d like to get that done.”

“Personally I would like Stuart to get the job,” McPhail added.

“He’s a great coach and I think he deserves it after the recent wins.”