Sheffield Wednesday: Gray sees way to please fans

Lewis Buxton is in contention for the Wigan game
Lewis Buxton is in contention for the Wigan game
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Wednesday get back on the road today aiming to reward fans for their loyalty.

Stuart Gray and players, now preparing for tonight’s game at Wigan, came face to face with supporters on the way back from Saturday’s flop at Yeovil.

The team bus stopped at a service station at the same time as two coachloads of fans.

Gray confessed his own disappointment over the 2-0 defeat and thinks supporters have every right to vent their feelings - and he hopes they will have something to cheer at Wigan.

The Owls boss has not revealed details on what took place on Saturday but admitted a “conversation” took place.

In addition, players posed for photographs and signed autographs so it was not all about ill-feeling over what Gray described as an “unacceptable” performance at Huish Park.

“I’m disappointed they spent hard earned money to go a long way and we didn’t get anything to cheer,” he said.

“We had a conversation. Players posed for photographs. I know how hard fans work to earn their money and follow us up and down the country. Like I said to the players, if you’re going to wear the shirt you’ve got to be 100 per cent committed and put the effort in. That’s what the supporters want.

“You might have be having the worst game in the world with the ball - it doesn’t stop you from closing down or putting your foot in.

“If the players are not fully committed, the fans have got to let the players know.

“On a nine-game unbeaten away run, the vocal support we had from the fans was fantastic. Never once could I question the players’ commitment and effort, which unfortunately was in question last Saturday.

“Supporters say it how they see it. I’m a bit like that. There’s no point skirting around the issue, It was not good enough. It was nice the lads gave autographs and posed for photgraphs, and nice for the fans to at least get something out of the day, because we didn’t get any points.”

“The players are very grateful that the fans make the effort to support them home and away. We don’t set out to play badly but we can’t afford to have five or six lads out of form.”

Now Gray is looking for a reaction against the FA Cup holders and semi=finalists.

Changes are likely and Gray admits that Lewis Buxton is in contention. The right back was on the bench last Saturday after his latest comeback from injury.

“He’ll come into my thoughts,” said the team boss. “Players keep the shirt and they play themselves out of the team. Last Saturday was not acceptable.”

Damian Martinez could keep his place with Gray admitting “hand on heart” that Chris Kirkland’s calf problem could keep him out:

“I’ve got no problems with Damian in goal; if anything he was one of the only people who came out with any credit on Saturday.”

Kieran Lee has an “outside” chance of being ready for Saturday’s game against Birmingham and is on schedule after going off with a hamstring injury in last month’s Hillsborough match against Derby.