Sheffield Wednesday: Owls boss seeks to put one over old pal

Notts County manager Shaun Derry.
Notts County manager Shaun Derry.
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Owls head coach Stuart Gray is keen to upset his close friend Shaun Derry tomorrow.

Sheffield Wednesday entertain Derry’s Notts County side in the first round of the Capital One Cup.

Gray, who has previously worked with Derry at Crystal Palace, told The Star: “I didn’t think Shaun would go on to become a manager. He was a good player. He played at Sheffield United. He was a leader. Unfortunately what happens in the end is mother nature catches up with us all and your legs can’t get you around the pitch.

“Shaun was a bit of a student of the game. It’s a good starting place for him at Notts County. It will be a big learning curve for him. He will probably find it difficult at times but I’m pleased he’s got the job.

“He’s phoned a couple of times for a bit of advice. He phoned trying to organise a pre-season game with us. I said ‘no, let’s see how the cup draw goes’ and suddenly we pulled each other out of the hat!

“I will have a glass of beer with Shaun after the game but hopefully we will have gone through.”

Gray expects County, who have former Owls defender Taylor McKenzie in their ranks, to provide a stern test for his team.

“I’ve seen them play a couple of times,” he said. “Shaun’s got them well organised and well drilled.

“It will be a tough. If we don’t turn up with the right application, it will become a difficult game but I’ve got every confidence we will get through.

“I never look at the cups financially. I just want to progress. When you look back on your career, you want to have achieved something.

“Whether that’s getting right through to the final of the League Cup. The most important thing is getting through and hopefully facing one of the big boys in the next round.”

The Owls chief believes the club can take heart from how well lower league clubs such as Bradford and Sheffield United have performed in the cup competitions in recent years.

Gray said: “More often than not, it’s normally the Premier League boys who are involved in the semi-finals or finals so it’s great credit to Bradford and Sheffield United that they got as far as they did. It just shows if you turn up with the right attitude and right application you can achieve things.”