Sheffield Wednesday: ‘Players to blame for home form’

Lloyd Isgrove
Lloyd Isgrove

Diminutive winger Lloyd Isgrove insists Sheffield Wednesday players should shoulder part of the blame for the team’s poor results at Hillsborough.

Owls entertain promotion-chasing Brentford tonight seeking just a fifth Championship victory on their own turf this season.

Stuart Gray’s troops boast one of the worst home records in the division, hitting a paltry 14 goals in 21 fixtures.

The team were booed off after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Charlton Athletic, leading to some fans questioning Gray’s long-term position on radio phone-ins and social media.

While Isgrove, on loan from Southampton until the end of the campaign, understands the supporters frustration, he claims it’s up to the players to start delivering the goods to ease the pressure on Gray.

“It is just as much the players responsibility as the manager’s to get results,” he told The Star. “He [Gray] picks the best team that he thinks will win the games and it’s up to us to perform for him and the fans.”

Andre Gray

Andre Gray

Isgrove, who agreed a new two-year contract extension with Southampton before joining the Owls on a temporary basis last month, said he is enjoying working under Gray.

He said: “He’s a good coach and I can see the way he wants to play. It is similar to Southampton.

“Even though the pitch is bad, he still wants us to get the ball down and play which really suits my game.”

The 22-year-old reckons Wednesday will quickly turnaround their home form if they continue to create as many goal-scoring opportunities as they did last weekend.

It is just as much the players’ responsibility as the manager’s to get results.

Lloyd Isgrove

He said: “We could have had four or five goals on Saturday. We are talking a matter of inches.

“Maybe we need that bit of luck. Once one or two go, I think we will be fine.

“The performance was everything the manager and fans would have probably wanted but we just haven’t converted our chances and that’s been the case for most of the season.

“Attey [Atdhe Nuhiu] missed one versus Charlton but I missed a couple and Lavs [Caolan Lavery] hit the post. It’s not down to anyone person. It’s the group. We have to keep working on it in training and take that into matches.

“If we keep playing like we did on Saturday and take a few more of our chances, we will move a lot higher up the table.”

Much has been spoken and written about the Hillsborough playing surface but Isgrove believes the squad cannot use that as an excuse.

As head coach Gray pointed out in his pre-match press briefing yesterday, Wednesday have not been ruthless enough in the final third and struggled to kill teams off when they have dominated proceedings.

“It’s hard because of the surface but it’s the same for both teams,” he said.

“We have to get on with it and try to play the way we want to play.

“I still try to play my usual game regardless of what pitch I play on.”

Welsh Under-21 international Isgrove is in line to make his fifth successive start for the Owls tonight. He is happy with his form but knows the best is yet to come.

“I think I have done alright,” he said. “I I have done better in the two home games. Norwich and Rotherham on my debut were tough games.

“The manager thinks I’ve done well and it’s great he has kept picking me. It shows he’s happy with my performances and I feel I’ve fitted in quite nicely to whatever formation we have played.

“The fans have not seen the best of me and there is more to come. I need to add scoring goals to my game and hopefully I can get a few before the end of the season.

“It has been frustrating not to get on the score-sheet but it has been the same for a lot of players. It is has not gone in for us for one reason or another.

“All I can do is work hard in training, keep improving my finishing and take that into the games.”

Given the fierce competition for places at his parent club, Isgrove said he will assess his future after completing pre-season training with Southampton.

Asked if he would be interested in rejoining Owls, he said: “I have enjoyed my time here so I don’t see why not. I will have to see what happens in pre-season. I’m sure if Wednesday do want me again it would be a good option.”

Gray has praised Isgrove’s attitude, saying: “He has done extremely well, the fans have taken to him and he gives 100 per cent. He’s a quality player.

“It’s refreshing that he’s got off his backside and wants to learn his trade.

“He’s a credit to Southampton. If we can get him back here, it would be great but he’s Southampton’s player.”

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