Sheffield Wednesday: No fear as Owls bid for home lift-off

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Stuart Gray wants his Sheffield Wednesday players to view facing second-placed Bournemouth as an opportunity rather than something to fear.

The Owls entertain the Cherries tonight looking to halt an eight-match winless streak in all competitions.

Wednesday head coach Gray is demanding his side make life difficult for Bournemouth, who have won eight out of their last nine matches.

“I always ask the players to get the crowd going,” said Gray, who watched Bournemouth beat West Bromwich Albion in the Capital One Cup last week. “They’ve got to show the enthusiasm, desire and hunger to close people down and hurt players in one on one situations. That can lift the crowd.

“Hopefully we can get our noses in front and get that second goal. That’s when you want the crowd to maybe get you over the line.

“Bournemouth are a good footballing side. They move the ball very quickly. They’ve got Callum Wilson up front who is a handful. He’s scoring goals.

“We have to be in their faces and closing them down. We can’t let them come here and dictate the pace of the game.

“Bournemouth have gone on an unbelievable run. They will come here with enthusiasm and confidence. It’s important we impose our game on them.”

Wednesday have triumphed just once in the Championship on home soil and Gray accepts their form at Hillsborough has “not been good enough”.

Gray, who will have to make one enforced change to his back four with Joe Mattock ruled out with an ankle problem, said: “We’ve got back to back home games and we have to go for the six points and hopefully that will turn things around.

“The expectation levels are a bit higher at home. You want to put on a good performance and want the fans to go home with the three points in the bag.

“The onus is more on us to attack and certain teams have sat back and counter attacked us. Watford did that and Norwich did it to a lesser extent as we have done to other teams when we have played them away.”

Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (hip), captain Glenn Loovens (back) and Stevie May (virus) are expected to be available for selection but Joe Mattock (ankle) is ruled out.

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