Gray’s praise for his Owls braves

Owls caretaker manager Stuart Gray salutes his players at Burnley
Owls caretaker manager Stuart Gray salutes his players at Burnley
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Stuart Gray has sought to deflect attention from the managerial waiting game and put the spotlight on his Wednesday players after the unbeaten run under him was stretched to seven games.

Gray was pleased with debuts for Caolan Lavery and Oguchi Onyewu and with the spirit and effort of the whole team in the 1-1 draw at Burnley.

Lavery and Onyewu will be in contention for their first FA Cup appearances for the club in the fourth-round tie at Rochdale on Saturday after being unavailable for the last round.

Gray, still awaiting a decision from Milan Mandearic on the manager’s job, said: “All credit to the lads. We had lads who had put in a shift against Leeds and Macclesfield and I asked them to put in another shift.

“You ask your players to stand up and be counted and that’s what they did.”

But inevitably he has to field further questions about the job: “All I can do is prepare the team, and hopefully the results will take care of themselves.

“We’re unbeaten in seven games. It’s down to the chairman’s decision and when he wants to make that decision.

“I’m pleased he had the confidence in me to ask me to take charge, I’ve got confidence in the job.”

“The boys are putting in unbelievable effort and commitment, so no-one can say they aren’t playing for the manager.”

First and foremost, like I always say to the players, you play for yourself and your family, and that’s what they’re doing.”

Gray believes that the Owls should have had a penalty in a controversial incident involving Chris Maguire and Burnley’s former Barnsley centre half Jason Shackell.

The caretaker boss says that he has met the brief of taking the club out of the bottom three, achieving some clean sheets and producing goals.

But he also joked: “Probably the next thing the chairman will throw at me is to get a penalty!”

The Owls have not been awarded a spot kick this season.

They believe Maguire was fouled by Shackell but referee Stuart Attwell booked the forward for diving.

Maguire earlier equalised with his fourth goal in five games.

Grays feels that the creative side of the team’s play could have been better but he praised their fightback and their defending.