Sheffield Wednesday: Gray quits loan market

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Stuart Gray has confirmed that his activity in the loan market is at end for the time being after the signings of striker Leon Best and defender Sam Hutchinson.

The pair follow quickly in the foosteps of forward Benik Afobe, centre back Adedeji Oshilaja and midfield player Gary Gardner and allow the Owls boss to rest players and make changes during a busy period, though Oshilaja is cup-tied and cannot play against Charlton today.

Leon Best receives treatment at Hillsborough from physio John Dickens - it was later found he had broken his foot

Leon Best receives treatment at Hillsborough from physio John Dickens - it was later found he had broken his foot

“The most important thing is we go into a batch of games where we don’t have to wrap people in cotton wool; we can make changes,” Gray told The Star.

His injury-hit squad are a third of the way through a three-week spell in which they play seven games.

He is also unconcerned that the new boys are short of match practice.

“The players that you tend to get on loan are the ones that aren’t in their clubs’ squads or they’re on the bench,” he added.

“What you don’t lose is their quality and thought process - Leon will have have it, Gary Gardner, Sam as well.

“It keeps the intensity up and makes the competition for places healthy.”

Best, now 27, well remembers that he suffered a fractured metatarsal after scoring in only his second game for the Owls while on loan from Southampton, in a 1-1 draw against Hull in August, 2005.

He had to return to Saints after only five days at Hillsborough but was brought back by Paul Sturrock the following January, on loan for the remainder of the season.

Best scored in the final game of that season, a 2-0 win at Derby.

He has since had moves of £650,000 to Coventry, £1.5m to Newcastle and £3m to Blackburn, and has scored 50 league goals in his career in 151 starts plus 60 outings from the bench.