Sheffield Wednesday: Stu wants happy Forest return

Stuart Gray played for Forest when Brian Clough was manager
Stuart Gray played for Forest when Brian Clough was manager
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Stuart Gray hopes to add to some happy Nottingham Forest memories when he returns to the City Ground tonight.

The Wednesday boss was a young left back or midfield player on Forest’s books when the club won the old First Division title and the European Cup twice under Brian Clough.

His recollections include making his debut against Manchester City at Maine Road, and scoring his first City Ground goal past Tottenham’s Ray Clemence.

Gray’s old club are seventh in the Championship now and only five points off the top six but have not won for 11 league and cup games - and he is out to increase their woes, confident that his players can end a lean run of their own, despite injury setbacks.

Wednesday’s defeat at Leicester on Friday was their fourth in succession on the road.

On Saturday he watched Forest lose 2-1 at home to Millwall: “They’re not full of confidence. You’d think they would be - they’re pushing for a play-off position.

“But I would imagine their caretaker manager (Gary Brazil) will be giving them a rallying call, saying ‘come let’s have a final push to get in the play-offs.

“What we need to do is start like Leicester started for the first 10 minutes,.

“We can’t wait to go a goal down before we get started. We have to make sure we come out of the traps.

“We need to start picking up points again away from home, Yes, it’s ok getting the plaudits for a nice performance at Leicester, but we got nothing.

“I’ve got fantastic memories (of being at Forest). Hull City were the team I supported as a boy. I had two trial games at Hull, got turned down; they were in league three; suddenly I get invited to a trial with Forest, I couldn’t believe it, and in my first two years there the club were European Cup winners.

“So it was a fantastic experience, When I go back there are still people there who remember me as a player!. “They’re on a bit of a poor run, with back to back home defeats against Charlton and Millwall, so we’ve got to go and cash in.

“I’ll have a smile on my face and a glass of with them after the game, but the most important thing is winning it.

“They’re lacking confidence, Obviously Stuart Pearce is going in (as manager) on the first of July,

“They’re five points off the play-offs, They’ll be looking for a push. But we’ve got to make sure we come out of the traps, close them down, get in their faces. We can’t let them dictate the game.

“They were booed off last Saturday at half time, and rightly so. because they didn’;t perform very well. Hopefully that will happen again.”

Gray made his debut for Forest in midfield at Manchester City. “We flew out the next day for the World Club Championship in Toyko - that’s what you did when you were European champions.”

He played for Forest from 1977 to 1984 then left for Barnsley; that was followed by a move to Aston Villa.

Tonight he is without Glenn Loovens (hamstring), who is likely to out for two to three weeks, and Oguchi Onyewu (back), who will probably be sidelined for around a fortnight.

Midfield player Sam Hutchinson is set to miss out owing to illness.