Sheffield Wednesday: Owls boss Stuart Gray hoping Millers are added to derby fixtures

Manager Stuart Gray,on the ball -Pic by: Richard Parkes
Manager Stuart Gray,on the ball -Pic by: Richard Parkes

Stuart Gray has mixed memories of South Yorkshire derbies - but that does not stop him from regretting the relegation of Doncaster and Barnsley and hoping that Rotherham go up.

The Owls manager appreciates the spice that derby football adds and he knows the excitement that they cause among supporters.

Freshest in his mind is the defeat at Doncaster in March: the Owls had an off day and went down 1-0.

But the home clash with Barnsley brought a 1-0 victory thanks to an injury-time winner by Chris Maguire.

Earlier weeks of the season saw Wednesday draw 1-1 at Barnsley with an equaliser by Matty Fryatt, and slip up 1-0 against Doncaster at Hillsborough.

As the Owls also went down 2-1 at Rotherham in the Capital One Cup in the second game of the season, they will aim to settle that score if the Millers beat Leyton Orient in the League One play-off final and clinch their place in the Championship.

Gray told The Star: “We’ve just lost two derby opponents (with Rovers and Barnsley going down). The fans enjoy local derbies, and it’s not far for us to travel when we play the local teams away. I hope Rotherham come up.”

The Owls will play pre-season friendlies against Doncaster and Barnsley but of course they are hardly the real thing.

Yorkshire derbies, as opposed to affairs in the south of the county, bring the broader spectrum of local rivalry, with Leeds and Huddersfield among the Owls’ rivals in the Championship.

Beni Carbone’s freshly struck alliance with Leeds will give the pre-match pot a stir when that date is coming around.

Wednesday’s 6-0 thrashing of Leeds was probably the highlight of their season; the 1-1 draw at Elland Road highly respectable.

A 2-1 home defeat by Huddersfield was avenged by a 2-0 victory at the John Smith’s stadium.

Carbone wanted the Owls manager’s job before Gray was fully appointed.

Earlier, when Dave Jones was still in charge, the ex-Wednesday striker said he would love to manage the club one day.

Jones’ sacking led to the Italian throwing his hat in the ring, and at one stage he claimed it was between him, Paolo Di Canio and Stuart Pearce, in the race for the job.

Carbone is an engaging character but Milan Mandaric was swayed by Gray’s attributes and was vindicated in sticking with him.

A lack of experience in English football has been no barrier to the importing of Carbone to aid owner Massimo Cellino, who like him is Italian and new to the English administrative scene.

As Cellino also showed some interest in the Owls before starting his takeover of Leeds, next season’s games against the Elland Road outfit will be at least as tasty as ever.