Sheffield Wednesday: Owls hint at big clear-out

Forward Chris Maguire

Forward Chris Maguire

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Boss Stuart Gray has suggested there will be a big turnover of players at Hillsborough during the close-season as he seeks to assemble a squad capable of challenging for promotion.

Some 16 players are out of contract, including captain Glenn Loovens, Jose Semedo, Kieran Lee and Chris Maguire.

Gray, who is still waiting to speak to chairman Dejphon Chansiri regarding his summer plans, is determined to turn 11th-placed Wednesday into a genuine Championship force. Bolstering his attacking options is one of the Owls chief’s main objectives but he is staying tight-lipped on potential transfer targets.

He said: “Players will come and go and the most important thing is we will build a competitive squad for next season.

“Defensively we have had a fantastic season in keeping 17 clean sheets. We have fallen down on goals.

“If you keep them out at one end, you’ve got to make sure you stick them in at the other. It’s not rocket science.

“We have not put the ball in the back of the net so we obviously need to look at that area whether that be personnel or team shape.”

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If Gray had his way, he would have his squad in place for the first day of pre-season training but accepts that is unlikely to be the case as agents will be aiming to get their clients the best possible deals. He believes Wednesday have built a solid foundation but is acutely aware that they need more strength in depth to compete for a top-six berth.

“I would love to comeback for the first day of pre-season with a squad of players but it’s not going to work like that,” admitted Gray, who watched the Owls’ development squad draw 1-1 away at Crewe Alexandra before seeing Nottingham Forest lose 3-1 to Watford on Wednesday.

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