Sheffield Wednesday: Injuries make it harder for Stu

Michail Antonio is one of the players on the injured list
Michail Antonio is one of the players on the injured list

Stuart Gray believes that injuries are making his task harder than it was a year ago when he joined the Owls and helped them to spark a great revival.

Gray, who this Friday reaches the first anniversary of his arrival, still hopes that the club can emulate last season’s climb to Championship safety.

“I came in when the club had been struggling with results,” said the caretaker boss, who was appointed coach soon after a run of seven defeats.

“I have really enjoyed my time here - it’s a fantastic club, with good people to work with.

“I was very disappointed that Dave Jones and Paul Wilkinson lost their jobs, but have been in the game long enough to know it’s a results business; the manager has just gone from Tottenham because results haven’t been good enough. We have to win games.

“The year has gone quickly. Hopefully we can have to same sort of success in the second part of the season that we had last season.

“We’ve got two home games now, against Wigan (tonight) and Bournemouth (on Saturday). They’re two winnable games, But we have to be at it. Then we have to go again; it’s a busy period with a lot of points to play for.”

Joe Mattock has a thigh strain and has joined an injured list that includes Michail Antonio (knee), Lewis Buxton (groin), Giles Coke (hamstring), David Prutton (ankle), Kamil Zayatte (ankle), Anthony Gardner (Achilles) and Martin Taylor (Achilles)

This time last year the club had 18 points from 22 games, after the turning point of a 1-0 win at Barnsley; now they have 17 but from three games fewer.

The final 25 games of last season brought 43 points - so Gray and chairman Milan Mandaric are hoping for a similar renaissance this season.

But the caretaker boss says: “It’s probably harder now, regarding the treatment room: there doesn’t seem to be any silver lining coming out of there, whereas last season Dave probably had 22-23 players to choose from.

“At the moment it’s a case of shutting down one or two with knocks and strains and putting them out there again.”

For tonight’s game, Gray will choose from the same squad that was on duty at Watford. Wigan are set to include ex-Owls Grant Holt and Scott Carson, who each cost £2m in the summer, from Norwich and Turkish club Bursaspor respectively.

It will be Holt’s first game against Wednesday since he left almost 10 years ago ago. Carson played for West Brom when they beat the Owls twice in 2009-10.