Sheffield Wednesday: Owls expect Gray to stay

Owls coach Stuart Gray, right, with manager Dave Jones

Owls coach Stuart Gray, right, with manager Dave Jones

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Sheffield Wednesday expect to reach agreement with senior coach Stuart Gray over an extension to his stay at Hillsborough.

Dave Jones has revealed that Gray wants to remain with the Owls, and club officials believes that a deal will be sealed.

Gray was happy to see out the original arrangement that saw him working for the club until the end of the season, before he looked further ahead.

His future is just one of the issues that need to be formally resolved as holidays tick by and before the club begin to gear up for pre-season.

Jones and the coaching staff will be back at work in around three-weeks’ time, on June 24, with the players reporting back three days after that.

Wednesday are confident that Jermaine Johnson will sign a new deal and hope that Stephen Bywater, Lewis Buxton, Giles Coke, David Prutton and Miguel Llera will accept their offers.

Club officials have raised eyebrows over claims that Cheltenham midfielder Marlon Pack is a target.

The League Two outfit have confirmed, without revealing any details, that the 22-year-old is attracting interest from clubs of higher status and is expected to leave. A £100,000 bid from Swindon in January failed.

But Jones values experience as well as talent and he already has Rhys McCabe, Paul Corry, Liam Palmer and Danny Mayor as up-and-coming midfielders.

If either Prutton or Coke was to leave, or both left, it seems likely that Wednesday would want to compensate for the removal of their experience from the squad.

The Owls are already monitoring Stephen McPhail, the 33-year-old who played for five Championship seasons under Jones at Cardiff.

Jones is always on the look-out for promising young talent and attempting to improve the quality of the squad but there will also be the budget and priorities to consider.

Pack, signed from Portsmouth two years ago, has played almost all of his football in League Two. He made one Championship appearance for Pompey, as a sub, and while with them had loan spells at Dagenham and Wycombe.

Meanwhile, Stuart Holden is finding that his loan spell with the Owls is paying off as expected.

The Bolton midfield player regarded his month at Hillsborough as an aid towards improving his fitness and his chances of getting back into the USA fold.

He duly made his first USA appearance in almost three years in this week’s 4-2 defeat by Belgium in Cleveland.

“It was a great feeling just to be back with the national team, something that I’ll treasure and won’t forget now as I try to push on and get better,” he said.

“It’s all been coming back, playing in the loan games. Every game, I felt I got better; I got sharper, felt like that player that I was again.”

He made four appearances for Wednesday and returned to Bolton before the final three games of the season. The USA’s next game is against Germany in Washington on Sunday, ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Jamaica next Friday.

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