Sheffield Wednesday chief Steve Bruce is not giving up on play-off dream yet

Steve Bruce, the Sheffield Wednesday boss, is adamant the Owls are still capable of securing a Championship play-off place.

Sunday, 10th February 2019, 24:58 am
Updated Sunday, 10th February 2019, 06:22 am
Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce

Wednesday lost more ground in the promotion race after Saturday's goalless draw with lowly Reading in Bruce's first home match in charge. Bruce's men squandered a host of opportunities either side of half-time to wrap up a third straight league win.

But the stalemate leaves the 16th-placed Owls 11 points adrift of sixth-placed Bristol City with 16 matches remaining.

Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce

Bruce, who confirmed skipper Tom Lees missed out because of a "freak" injury that he sustained to his shin in training on Friday afternoon, told The Star: "I always knew the top-six would be difficult but we can't give up hope.

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"Another couple of wins then who knows. We are not going to give up hope on it but it was always a daunting prospect.

"But let's be fair, the team were looking the other way a few weeks ago rather than looking up which is difficult for a club likes ours.

"We will keep trying."

Jordan Thorniley replaced Lees at centre-half, with Barry Bannan wearing the captain's armband. The young defender acquitted himself well as the Owls racked up a seventh clean sheet in their last 11 outings.

“He did very very well," said Bruce, a centre-back during his playing days."I was really pleased for the kid.  

“Defensively we looked rock solid and that’s the big positive for me of course being a defender.  

“Of course the supporters want to see goals and I understand that but I think they understand we were in a bit of a mess so to keep a clean sheet gives you a platform in my opinion for success."

Bruce also praised Keiren Westwood's contribution. The goalkeeper pulled off a series off excellent stops to frustrate Reading.

Bruce said: "He has done a good job since coming back in. He is an experienced goalkeeper and has got a calmness about him which reflects very, very well on the back four.

"He did very well again and I'm delighted with him."