Sheffield Wednesday: Freed Taylor hopes Owls get off to flier

Axed defender Martin Taylor believes it’s imperative Sheffield Wednesday get off to a strong start next season if they are to be involved in the play-off shake up.

In the last two years, the Owls have flirted with relegation following sluggish starts to their Championship campaigns.

Indeed, when Stuart Gray replaced Dave Jones at the helm last December, Wednesday were languishing in the bottom three, having won just one of their opening 16 league fixtures.

Taylor, released by Wednesday a week ago, told The Star it’s “hugely important” Gray’s side make a positive impression in the early stages of the season.

“It takes the pressure off if you make a good start in the first couple of months,” he said. “It’s hugely important the team start well next year and I’m sure Stuart [Gray] will be looking at how they have conducted pre-season over the last two seasons. There are always things you can change.

“If you get off to a good start, it gives you a foundation to build on and achieve something in a season rather than just looking at survival which is what the last two years have been about for the club. We’ve got to Christmas and that’s all we have been playing for. If you are challenging in the top half of the table, it gives a better feeling around the club and the fans come to games with real expectations.”

Gray informed centre-back Taylor, who failed to make a single appearance for Wednesday last term, at the start of May that he was not being retained.

He said: “I spoke to Stuart and I kind of expected it (to be let go) so I wasn’t totally surprised. Given the amount of matches I’ve played in the last two years, I knew it was unlikely I would be offered a new contract. My time at the club didn’t go as well as I hoped it would.”