Sheffield Wednesday: Danny Pugh plays down flare-up

Owls goal scorer Danny Pugh
Owls goal scorer Danny Pugh

DANNY Pugh has taken a Hillsborough controversy in his stride and is looking for the Owls to step up their Championship survival campaign.

He was a central figure in the incident that sparked a flare-up on the Hillsborough touchline and the 72nd minute sending-off of Dave Jones and Brighton coach Charlie Oatway.

Brighton are understood to have claimed that Pugh should have been sent off instead of being booked for a tackle on right back Inigo Calderon.

Jones said referee Simon Hooper got his decisions right and the Owls manager accused the Seagulls camp of repeatedly trying to sway the ref into evening the score after their player Ashley Barnes was correctly dismissed in the first half - a decision about which Brighton boss Gus Poyet had no complaints.

Pugh said: “When a team go down to 10 men, they’re always going to try to balance it out. It (his tackle) was a foul. I don’t think it was ever a sending-off.”

The on-loan man from Leeds played at left back to replace the injured Reda Johnson and scored his first goal in 16 months from the free kick awarded for Barnes’ red-card foul on Kieran Lee.

Pugh felt that the Owls played even better in Saturday’s 3-1 win - their biggest home victory of the season - than in the 2-1 result at Charlton.

“We’re delighted again,” he said. “Last week, we were solid. This time I think we created more chances and looked more of a threat going forward, and it was against one of the top teams in this division.

“We have to start looking above us rather than looking over our shoulders, and hopefully keep climbing that table.”

Jones and Oatway could face an FA charge, depending on what the referee says in his report.

Reda Johnson is seeing a specialist in Marseille today about further trouble with his ankle - he has already suffered a long lay-off this season.

Jones said: “We knew after the game at Charlton that we wouldn’t have him for the Brighton game.

“We’ve sent him off to France to get it looked at. It’s a niggle; he wants to get rid of it.”