Forward Chris Maguire has claimed the team spirit at Sheffield Wednesday is the best he has ever known it.
The Owls have racked up 17 points from their opening 11 league matches and lie in ninth position in the Championship standings.
Their solid start is in marked contrast to last season when it took Wednesday until December 14 to record a clean sheet, an away win and reach 17 points.
Maguire, who moved to Hillsborough from Derby County in June 2012, told The Star: “It’s probably the best team spirit since I signed here. That starts with the manager.
“Since Stuart Gray has taken over, everybody can have a laugh and training is good. We can have a laugh in training but we know we have to be serious at times. He drums that into us. It’s been brilliant.”
Gray has transformed Wednesday’s fortunes and Maguire is enjoying working with the former Southampton and Northampton boss.
“Stuart is a great manager and knows everybody’s strengths,” said Maguire, who angered Leeds’ supporters after sliding on his knees in front of them to celebrate his fine strike in Saturday’s pulsating derby. “He gets everybody going and the training sessions are brilliant so everyone is 100 per cent behind him and I think it is showing on the pitch. Everybody knows what their roles are and how to perform.”
Maguire, who will miss the clash with Watford after the two-week international break due to suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in Saturday’s draw at Leeds United, is confident Wednesday can have a successful season.
He said: “If you’ve got a good structure, steady manager and a hard-working bunch of boys, that’s a start in this league.
“I think we’ve played against some tough teams. I don’t fear anybody. It’s a tough league and anybody can beat anybody but we know what we can do.
“But we are not going to shout our mouths off. We will go about our business quietly. We are doing well at the moment. Hopefully we can cut the draws out and then we will be even higher.
“We need to get back to winning games as quick as possible and hopefully that will start against Watford who are on a good run. We then face a team who have come up in Brentford. We will go there and be professional.”
Maguire was cautioned at Elland Road following a clash with Gaetano Berardi.
“I like to get the crowd going, get them on our backs,” he said.
“I had the centre-half and the left-back on edge because the fans were booing me every time I got the ball. We all know what it is like at Hillsborough, when our fans are booing an opposition player you want to whack them one.”
Wednesday, meanwhile, are running a special family ticket offer for the Watford match. Significant savings of up to £28 can be made in the Family Area of the Grandstand. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or over the phone.
For more information, ring 0871 900 1867