Sheffield Wednesday: Gray praises away clean sheet

Owls fans in festive mood at Ewood Park
Owls fans in festive mood at Ewood Park
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Stuart Gray last night saluted his Owls team for the way they earned a point and a clean sheet at Blackburn.

Centre halves Roger Johnson and Glenn Loovens and recalled keeper Chris Kirkland came in for praise - as did Atdhe Nuhiu who battled along after having injections in his injured shoulder.

Gray said: “We had the better of the first half - Atdhe was unlucky not to score - there were a couple of good saves by their keeper.

“Jordan Rhodes got in through a quick free kick where we lacked concentration - it was straightforward save for Kirky.

“In the second half it was just two teams who cancelled each other out.

“On the back of the Bournemouth performance, it’s nice to get a clean sheet. You can’t undervalue the point; we’re disappointed we didn’t get our noses in front by half time.”

Gray brought back Kirkland to replace Damian Martinez: “I just felt we needed Chris’s experience and knowledge and communication with the back four. It was a difficult decision - Emmi hasn’t really done anything wrong. I just felt it was the right time to bring Chris in. He gave us that calming influence behind the back four.

“The two centre halves kept Rhodes quiet - 90 per cent of Blackburn’s goals have probably come from him.”

Connor Wickham was ruled out again: “He was still feeling his hamstring,” said Gray. “Credit to Atdhe; he had to have several injections in his shoulder and had it strapped up. In the end he was running on empty.

“Dann and Hanley are two strong centre halves; they bump you and knock you about; Atdhe did quite well up there on his own.”