Sheffield Wednesday: D-day looms for Owls players

Chris Kirkland is among the players whose contracts end this summer
Chris Kirkland is among the players whose contracts end this summer

It will be D-day on Sunday for Wednesday players when Stuart Gray tells them of the club’s plans for the future.

He will inform the 13 men who fall out of contract this summer whether they are being released or are to be offered new terms.

The Owls boss will hold a series of individual meetings, and the club will make the decisions public next week.

“We’re all in on Sunday so I’ll be having a meeting with them,” Gray told The Star. “They’ll be the first to know what’s happening.

“Sunday will be the last time we’re all in together, so it will give me a chance to speak to the lads.”

The players whose contracts end this summer are Chris Kirkland, Reda and Jermaine Johnson, Anthony Gardner, Jose Semedo, David Prutton, Adam Davies, Martin Taylor, Rafa Floro, Miguel Llera, Glenn Loovens, Oguchi Onyewu and Arron Jameson.

Wednesday will make efforts to keep Kirkland, Loovens and Onyewu, but the futures of other experienced players such as Llera, Taylor, Prutton, Gardner and Jermaine Johnson seem in doubt.

Gray has also confirmed that he sees a 20-goal striker as a prime requirement, among other targets.

“I’ve had a brief chat with the chairman and identified to him the players I want to bring to the club to improve the squad and make us more consistent,” he said.

“He also knows I want to improve on the start we had last season, which wasn’t acceptable. I want us to be good all the way through, but you need a squad for that.” Gray said that the budget had not been discussed yet; that will be on the agenda at a further meeting between him, chairman Milan Mandaric and vice-chairman Paul Aldridge.

“I want to bring in players with leadership and qualitiy, who are winners. and can play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday,” he added. “Probably every manager is saying that.

“The list of Bosmans will be coming out. We want to be competing for those better players, Hopefully the chairman is going to tell me there are funds to buy a player as well.”

Gray knows how difficult it may be to land a proven goal-scorer, and that one of his targets, Matty Fryatt, is being offered a new contract by Hull.

“But we have other players we can consider,” he said. “I’d also like to get the squad settled before we start pre-season training on July 1. Whether that will happen I don’t know but hopefully it will.”

Winger Danny Mayor is poised to sign a three-year contract with Bury.