Sheffield Wednesday boss Stuart Gray is desperate for his side to be the top Yorkshire club in the Championship come the end of the 2014/15 season.
As his Owls team prepare to travel to Leeds United for tomorrow’s televised lunch-time encounter, kick-off 12.15pm, Gray is acutely aware of the rivalry between the two clubs.
Leeds finished one place and four points better off in the table than the Owls last season and Gray is keen for his players to out-perform their neighbours this time around.
He said: “Of course it means a lot to be Yorkshire’s top club. We wanted to finish the top club in the Championship last season and they [Leeds] finished above us.
“Local derbies mean a lot. They don’t come around that often. We have Leeds and the Rotherham one coming up but lost Doncaster and Barnsley.
“The chairman keeps reminding me we missed out on the Sheffield derby. I would like to sample one of them. Hopefully we might draw them in the cup. You need the derbies and we’ve got to make sure we get the bragging rights.”
Head coach Gray, who has ruled out bringing in a new loan recruit until after the clash at Elland Road, is considering making personnel changes. Tom Lees, Kieran Lee and Sam Hutchinson trained yesterday and are pushing for places along with Royston Drenthe and Hallam Hope.
“We have played 10 league games and three cup matches; people say we have started well but I keep challenging the players that once they’ve got the shirt they’ve got to keep a hold of it,” he stressed.
“I’m not frightened to change a winning side or pick a team who are capable of getting the three points. I’ve got people who are sat on the subs bench who can come on and affect the game.”
Kamil Zayatte had a scan, on Thursday, on the hamstring injury he picked up against Ipswich. The results are not yet known but Gray says the centre-back is likely to be sidelined for two to three weeks.
Owls goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith, meanwhile, has been selected by England for the prestigious International Four Team Tournament, which begins in Holland next week.