Sheffield Wednesday: Stu wants goals from new boy

Benik Afobe scored at Reading but missed a chance in the Wigan game
Benik Afobe scored at Reading but missed a chance in the Wigan game

Stuart Gray wants as many of his players as possible to chip in with goals.

It is a shortage from the midfield department that led to him signing Gary Gardner on loan from Aston Villa.

The head coach has made it quite clear that Gardner has not been signed to supply the combative qualities normally provided by Jose Semedo.

Gray set wheels in motion to sign Gardner before Semedo was injured.

“He’s a quality player, I’ve seen a lot of him,” says Gray. “He’s a different type of player (from Semedo). He’s a goalscoring midfield player, and he’s shown that quality in training. Fingers crossed he can take that into games.”

Gray is counting on men such as Atdhe Nuhiu and Benik Afobe to get goals though each missed a chance in the Wigan game, Afobe after he got off the mark at Reading.

The Owls boss is also playing down the loss of Semedo’s defensive attributes from midfield: “The midfield job is to repair the damage and create things.

“But you defend with 11 and attack with 11. First and foremost we’re going to miss Semi: his application and professionalism are fantastic.

But we’re grateful to Aston Villa for letting Gary come to us to get some football in.”

Gardner, like Afobe, has played for England Under 21s. “He knows Benik,” added Gray. “Benik was part of him coming here.

“Your signings don’t tend to fall in the order that you’d like.

“People will probably think Semi’s injury was the reason: no, we were always trying to get Gary. It was just a case of getting the permission from Aston Villa.”

Gray saw Gardner while he was doing some work for Stuart Pearce with the Under 21s “He’s a qualitiy midfield player who can get box to box and gives us something a bit different.

“We havent’t been getting enough goals from midfield, I’m probably putting a bit of pressure on him now, to make sure he scores.

“It’s a a bit of competition as well. Sometimes it’s not always the team that starts, it’s the team that finishes; whether Gary comes on the last 15 to 20 minutes when the game has opened up a bit....

“One thing you do know is he can score from outside the box. I’m not being disrespectful to Semi or Kieran Lee, they break things up and play forward but I wouldn’t say their strongest attribute is scoring.”