Sheffield Wednesday: Owls urged to tighten up

Stuart Gray, who celebrates his 50th match in charge of the Owls at Brentford tonight
Stuart Gray, who celebrates his 50th match in charge of the Owls at Brentford tonight
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Stuart Gray, the Sheffield Wednesday head coach, is calling on his team to get back to being hard to break down.

The Owls have shipped in 14 goals in their last five outings, seven of which have been conceded in their four-match winless run in the Championship.

Organisation and hard work have enabled Wednesday to record seven clean sheets this term and Gray, who will take charge of his 50th match at Brentford tonight, wants them to get back to basics.

He said: “Brentford are a hard working side. They got promoted last year and Griffin Park is a difficult place to go. They close you down very well, get in your face all the time and make life difficult. They play to their strengths. We have got to get back to being difficult to play against.”

Gray, thwarted in his bid to sign a new striker on loan yesterday, has confirmed Sam Hutchinson will be sidelined for a minimum of a couple of weeks. The midfielder was forced off against Watford on Saturday after picking up a knee problem.

Injuries have plagued Hutchinson throughout the 2014/15 campaign. He missed 10 matches due to a back knock. The 25-year-old is currently on crutches and was sent for a scan yesterday afternoon.

Gray said: “Sam is in a lot of pain. It is upsetting for him and the club.

“I am just hoping the scan result is good news. He is going to be out for a number of weeks, if not maybe longer.”

Forward Chris Maguire is pushing for a first-team recall after serving his one-match ban for collecting five yellow cards but Lewis Buxton (knee) is ruled out of the trip to the capital.

“Chris went out on a high with his goal against Leeds,” said Gray. “We probably did miss him defensively on Saturday and also what he can give going forwards.

“He can create a goal and, more often than not, can put a decent ball into the box.”

Gray has won 20, drawn 12 and lost 17 of his matches at the helm, giving him a win ratio of 40.82%.

“I feel honoured and privileged to be the head coach of Sheffield Wednesday,” he said.

“I think 50 games in this job is a long time anyway but obviously the most important thing is that we get a positive result at Brentford.

“While it is an achievement, I always remind the players they are only as good as their last game and our last performance wasn’t good enough so we know what we have to do.”