Sheffield Wednesday: Owls chief hopes scouting mission pays off

Owls boss Stuart Gray
Owls boss Stuart Gray
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Excited Sheffield Wednesday boss Stuart Gray is hoping his extra attention to detail will reap rewards as the Owls prepare to tackle Manchester City in the Capital One Cup.

Gray attended the Premier League champions 1-1 draw with Chelsea yesterday in preparation for the Owls’ third-round encounter at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

Speaking to the press corps today, the Wednesday head coach said: “I went to watch the City game live yesterday so that was interesting.

“It was a good, enjoyable game. I just felt Chelsea would go on to win it. It just shows the character City have got in the team to go down to 10 men and get a draw.

“City have technically very gifted, world class players. They had a lot of possession of the ball so we might just have to defend very well. It will be nice to go the reigning cup holders and Premier League champions so I’m looking forward to it.

“I think their strengths way outweigh their weaknesses. Hopefully I spotted a few weaknesses that hopefully we can exploit.”

Gray hinted he may rotate his squad. Goalkeeper Chris Kirkland and striker Gary Madine have started in their two other cup ties this season.

The Owls boss also confirmed a love move recently fell through because the player picked up an injury.

Gray, who also scotched reports linking them with a loan move for Sunderland midfielder Liam Bridcutt, said: “One of the lads we were chasing has got an injury so that won’t be happening.

“We carry on. We’ve got competition for places and we are playing well. It’s going to be a squad game and the squad will be used over the next four games.”

Loan forwards Hallam Hope and Royston Drenthe have been granted permission to play against City by their parent clubs Everton and Reading respectively.

Kieran Lee (groin) and Sam Hutchinson (back) could be in contention for the trip to managerless Cardiff City on Saturday. The duo are taking part in first-team training again. Gray said Lee has a better chance of featuring in Wales than Hutchinson.