Sheffield Wednesday: Gray seeks Valley repeat

Stuart Gray directs operations at Blackburn

Stuart Gray directs operations at Blackburn

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Stuart Gray is calling on the Owls to build on the clean sheet earned at Blackburn and hopes that last season provides a happy omen for tomorrow’s game at Charlton.

His first game as a Wednesday coach was against the Addicks - they were beaten 2-0 at Hillsborough on December 22 last year.

The Owls followed that with a 2-1 victory at the Valley in March.

Now Gray is aiming to close the four-point gap between the clubs.

“We go to Charlton full of confidence,” he said. “The clean sheet was important - now we have to build on that. We got a good result there last season.

“The most important thing is that we keep the points ticking over and keep clawing teams back towards us.”

Charlton were the only team out of the present bottom seven to win on Boxing Day. They beat Brighton 3-2 at home - their first win in six games .

Gray felt that the Owls could have nicked a win at Blackburn - but he decided against throwing sub Chris Maguire into the attack near the end and sent Reda Johnson forward.

Admitted Gray, who recalled Maguire from his loan at Coventry because of a shortage of strikers: “I feel for Chris a bit.

“I couldn’t let them dominate; I put Reda up there as a focal point, just to see out the game, and hopefully we could have nicked a goal, but the last thing I wanted was for us to concede a goal.”

Jacques Maghoma shares Gray’s view that the team need to improve in the attacking third: “Our final ball has let us down in previous games as well.” said the forward.

“But a good point away at Blackburn is a good bounce-back after the disappointing loss against Bournemouth. There is quality throughout the squad. We’ve still got some players out injured. We’re getting there slowly.

“We go to Charlton full of confidence. Since Stu took over there’s been a massive improvement in the squad.

“Hopefully we can get a result at Charlton. It’s a huge game for both clubs - the main thing is not to lose.”