Owls head coach Stuart Gray will tell his players to keep their cool in the pressure cooker atmosphere of Sheffield Wednesday’s local derby at Leeds United today.
Gray, who attended Leeds’ goalless draw with Reading in midweek, wants a disciplined performance from his team as they chase a first win at Elland Road since 2007.
“It’s important everyone keeps their heads,” he told The Star. “You start with 11 players and you want to finish with 11.
“It’s difficult to win games of football when you go down to 10 men as we saw at Nottingham Forest last season. It’s a lot easier with 11 on the field.”
Tom Lees, Kieran Lee and Sam Hutchinson are pressing for first-team places after recovering from their injury problems. Having the trio available for selection is a major boost for Gray, who has called on referee James Adcock to show leniency in the early stages of today’s televised match.
“It will be 100 miles and hour and we need a strong referee,” said Gray. “I hope he [Adcock] doesn’t book anyone early on and put himself under pressure. That’s when you start to worry about a second yellow card.”
Joe Mattock and Chris Maguire are a booking each away from triggering automatic one-match bans and Gray added: “I don’t want players to get booked for anything cheap.”