Sheffield Wednesday boss keen on McGugan stay

The Owls

The Owls

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Sheffield Wednesday boss Stuart Gray would like to keep Lewis McGugan after the midfielder’s third goal in five games secured a 1-0 victory at the Championship’s bottom side Blackpool.

The Watford loanee struck nine minutes after the break with a free-kick for the Owls who have now won three of their last four league games.

“He is a good player and we like to keep good players but the problem is he is on loan from Watford and he is still Watford’s player,” said Gray.

“You can see Lewis McGugan has got great quality. And he showed the sort of quality he has with the free-kick.

“It’s our 18th clean sheet of the season and we deserve credit for that. Obviously credit has to go to the goalkeeper and the back four but we defend from the front and you needed to do that on a pitch like this.

“It was very hard to play any kind of decent football on this pitch, it just wasn’t conducive to knocking the ball around.

“But to be fair we can’t use that as an excuse as our pitch isn’t that good either.

“We stuck to our task and kept working away and eventually we got the reward our efforts deserved.”

Wednesday were on top for most of the match and Chris Maguire was the main architect of the first-half chances, forcing home goalkeeper Elliot Parish into a couple of saves.

And McGugan deservedly gave the visitors the lead on 54 minutes when his curling free-kick from the left touchline evaded everyone inside the penalty area and nestled in the far corner of Parish’s net.

While the result lifted the Owls up to tenth, it left Blackpool 17 points adrift of safety with 10 games to go and Seasiders boss Lee Clark admits their second-tier tenure is all-but over.

Clark said: “We don’t like losing games but we’ve got to be realistic in what we are trying to do and what we are thinking about in terms of the group.

“I want the players to stake a claim to be part of the overhaul that I’ll be doing to try and get the club back to the Championship at the first attempt.

“There will be huge changes in playing personnel and how we structure everything. It’s getting a bigger miracle by the week that needs to happen for us to stay up.

“I want a young vibrant squad that are athletic, with power and pace on a brand new pitch where we can play high tempo football and I want a proper pre-season with a full squad. We’d like to score more goals.

“I’m 100 per cent confident I’ll be here next season, from the conversations I have had with the chairman.”