Sheffield Wednesday boss Stuart Gray is relishing the prospect of facing Burnley in the Capital One Cup tonight, claiming his old club are the blueprint for Championship clubs to follow.
The Clarets defied the odds by clinching promotion from the second-tier of English football last season, finishing runners-up behind Leicester City.
But Sean Dyche’s men are still searching for their first league points in the Premier League, having lost to Chelsea and Swansea City.
Gray, who spent a spell as first-team coach and later caretaker boss at Turf Moor following Brian Laws’ dismissal between 2010 and 2011, reckons clubs must look to emulate Burnley’s example.
He said: “Burnley are a lovely football club. When I look at Burnley now, they are probably a blueprint for everybody to get into the Premier League.
“It was a fantastic achievement for them to go up. What Sean Dyche did was down to team spirit and team bonding.
“They kept it tight at the back and have goal-scorers in Sam Vokes and Danny Ings who got 50 odd goals between them last season.
“Let’s hope Attey [Atdhe Nuhiu], Gary Madine and Stevie May can be those type of players for us.”
Gray, in his first full season of charge of Wednesday, thinks the playing surface at Burnley will suit his players.
“It’s a fantastic pitch at Burnley,” he said. “We like to zip the ball around and play one or two touch football.
“All the boys are chomping at the bit wanting to be in the team and it will be the same against Nottingham Forest.”
The Owls boss, who is still looking to strengthen his squad before the transfer window closes at 11pm on September 1, is refusing to get carried away after their positive start to the season.
“It’s a great start but we have not achieved anything yet,” said Gray, who may recall Sam Hutchinson if he has recovered from his back injury. “We’ve just got to make sure we are up for the game against Burnley and then the Sky game with Forest which is a good one to look forward to.
“Nothing fears us at all. We have had a good start but we aren’t going to be complacent. All I ask for is the effort and commitment and it’s there in abundance.”
Wednesday have signed youngster Will De Havilland on a one-year deal, with the option of a further 12 months. The defender began his career at Millwall but failed to make a single appearance in their first-team.