Sheffield Wednesday: Owls chief defends Baker omission

Owls midfielder Lewis Baker
Owls midfielder Lewis Baker
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Head coach Stuart Gray will do whatever it takes to turn Sheffield Wednesday into a Championship force.

There were eyebrows raised at Gray’s decision to leave out Chelsea loanee Lewis Baker from the match-day squad against Cardiff City.

But Gray said: “Lewis didn’t make the squad because I felt that group of players I had out there would get the result.”

Liam Palmer was also another notable omission from the starting line-up, with the Worksop-born player having started every single match this season. He was an unused substitute.

“You are going to disappoint people,” said Gray, who hopes to sign a new winger during the emergency loan window. “You are going to have people who aren’t going to make the squad.

“If you want to get somewhere, you can’t just rely on 11 players. It’s about a group of 22-24 players.”

The Owls chief was delighted with the contribution second half substitutes Jose Semedo, Sergiu Bus and Lewis McGugan made versus Cardiff. Semedo took no part in training yesterday due to his on-going toe injury and is a big doubt ahead of tonight’s meeting with high-flying Ipswich Town.

Gray, who will be without suspended duo Chris Maguire and Glenn Loovens, said: “Competition is healthy and what people do know is that if they don’t pull their weight they will be out of the team and someone else will grab the shirt.”

With Loovens serving the second of his two-match ban, Tom Lees is likely to wear the captain’s armband again.

“Tom was very honoured and absolutely delighted I asked him,” said Gray. “I think he earned it with his performances. He leads by example on the pitch. He has been outstanding for us. He’s a top, top professional both on and off the pitch.”

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