Sheffield Wednesday: Coke fizzes with praise for boss Gray

Giles Coke says Stuart Gray is the best coach he's worked with
Giles Coke says Stuart Gray is the best coach he's worked with
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Midfielder Giles Coke has told The Star that current Sheffield Wednesday boss Stuart Gray is the best coach he has ever worked under.

Head coach Gray masterminded the Owls’ revival in the second half of last season as they retained their Championship status.

He steered Wednesday to a 16th-placed finish after taking over the reins in December when the club sat second-from-bottom in the standings, six points shy of safety.

Coke, who started in Wednesday’s 2-1 pre-season friendly defeat to FC Arsenal Tula, said: “All the players love Stu. I’ve worked with some really good coaches in my career but he is the best I have ever worked with.

“He is a very hands-on coach.

“When we need to be told a few home truths, he will do that. He is good at both sides of management.”

More than a month has passed since Wednesday announced Hafiz Mammadov has bought the club, subject to ratification from the Football League.

Question marks were raised over Gray’s future following Mammadov’s buyout but Owls chairman Milan Mandaric has reassured him he will be given a “proper chance” to prove his worth.

Gray has already recruited Keiren Westwood and Sam Hutchinson over the summer as he aims to bolster the options at his disposal.

“Stu is a top coach,” said Coke. “Every player respects him and we are all very happy the new owner is going to give him a chance because we all think he deserves it. Everyone is behind him.”

Mammadov, the founder and chairman of the Baghlan Group, also owns Azerbaijan side FC Baku and French outfit RC Lens.

There is a possibility Gray may be offered and could sign one or two players from Mammadov’s other clubs.

Coke said: “I’m all for any player who is going to help the team.

“I think the new owner is going to put the club in a good place.

“There are good foundations already in place here and that’s why he [Mammadov] has bought the club.

“It’s all here just waiting to take off and hopefully we will soon.”