Sheffield Wednesday: No room for sentiment as Gray targets third straight win

Owls boss Stuart Gray
Owls boss Stuart Gray

Owls head coach Stuart Gray will put sentiment to one side when he locks horns with his old club Wolves on Saturday.

In his 20-year coaching career, Gray has enjoyed two separate spells at Molineux. He worked briefly as reserve team coach in 1994 before heading back to Southampton.

Gray returned to Wolves a decade later, working as assistant manager to Dave Jones during their one-year stay in the Premier League. He was placed in caretaker charge after Jones was sacked following a poor start to the 2004/05 campaign.

Gray told The Star: “Wolves were in the Premier League when Dave Jones asked me to come and join them. Unfortunately, Dave lost his job and I got working with Glenn Hoddle again.

“Wolves are a huge club with a big fanbase. They are steeped in history and tradition. Like ourselves, they could probably sell out their crowd if they went on a good run.”

Under Kenny Jackett’s astute management, Wolves romped to the League One title last season.

“Kenny has done an excellent job,” acknowledged Gray. “He’s got an athletic side.

“It is well documented that Wolves have got players on huge wages who aren’t featuring and he’s dealt with them problems and got on with the job.

“They got promoted which was a big achievement and credit should go to Kenny for the way they bounced back straight away following back-to-back relegations.

“Wolves are a huge club who shouldn’t have been in League One in the first place but you’ve got to fight and scrap whatever league you play in.

“Sometimes when you’ve got a very big budget, it doesn’t always mean you are going to get promoted or stay in the league. You need that team spirit, continuity and togetherness in your club.

“They have had a lot of problems on and off the pitch but that’s not my concern. My focus is on getting Sheffield Wednesday up as far as we can in the table and heading towards the play-offs.”

Wolves have slipped to 13th in the division after five defeats on the spin but Gray has warned his squad not to take them lightly.

He said: “The players have got more of a spring in their step after back-to-back wins. We’ve got a lot of self belief and confidence from the win and performance we produced at home to Wigan.

“We have to build on our last two results but we won’t underestimate Wolves.

“They started off like a house on fire and were in the top six in the early part of the season. They’ve had a couple of injuries and suspensions in the last couple of weeks which hasn’t helped them.

“As Blackpool showed against Birmingham last week, there is no easy game in the Championship.”

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Twitter: @DomHowson