Sheffield Wednesday: ‘Aggressive’ Dielna tipped to follow in former favourite’s footsteps

New Sheffield Wednesday signing Claude Dielna
New Sheffield Wednesday signing Claude Dielna

Stuart Gray says supporters have seen the likes of new boy Claude Dielna before in Wednesday colours.

The Owls head coach believes the French defender will earn more than a few comparisons with former favourite Reda Johnson.

Dielna looks likely to be handed his first start by Gray this afternoon at Bolton, coming in for suspended skipper Glenn Loovens.

And Gray has backed the 26-year-old to become a hit with supporters, as Johnson did during his time at Hillsborough.

“Claude is a good player, an aggressive player,” Gray said.

“I would imagine a lot of the supporters would compare him to a bit of a Reda – that type of player.

“He’s very aggressive and very strong.

“I hope Reda doesn’t take this the wrong way but Claude’s probably got a bit more technical ability.

“He can also get up and down that left hand side.

“The good thing is that he will keep Joe Mattock on his toes and keep my captain Glenn Looves on his toes.

“That is no bad thing.”

Dielna caught the eye on his first appearance for the club since arriving on a three year deal a fortnight ago.

The former Olympiacos man played the full 90 minutes of the Owls U21s win over Swansea last week, spending time at centre half, full back and defensive midfield.

While confident in Dielna’s abilities to replace Loovens – who picked up five yellow cards in the first five league games – Gray is slightly concerned about the communication which will take place among the back four at the Macron Stadium this afternoon.

And however good a communicator the Frenchman might be, the Owls chief says the language barrier is likely to have an effect.

Gray said: “I’ve lost my captain but also one of my talkers and organisers.

“Liam Palmer is not the most vocal and neither is Joe Mattock.

“I’ve been asking both of them as well as Tom Lees to be more vocal.

“Claude can speak English but it’s not always that simple.

“I saw it when I worked at Aston Villa and there were around 18 different cultures.

“By the time a player has translated something from their own language into English or visa versa, the moment has gone.

“Ideally you want that bit of sharpness in information at the back.”

Dielna faces competition for a starting berth from Kamil Zayatte, who only returned to training yesterday after playing 90 minutes for Guinea in Uganda on Wednesday night.