Sheffield Wednesday: Owls ready for derby battle

Owls boss Stuart Gray
Owls boss Stuart Gray
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Owls head coach Stuart Gray has warned his side they must be prepared for a battle when they welcome Rotherham United to Hillsborough on Saturday.

Gray is keen to arrest Wednesday’s recent run of poor form in the Championship. Wednesday’s players and management held clear-the-air talks following Tuesday’s home loss to Bournemouth, a result which extended their winless run to nine matches in all competitions.

But Gray, who will have to make one enforced change with Royston Drenthe serving a one-match ban following his red card against Bournemouth, is confident he will get a positive response from his team against their South Yorkshire rivals.

He told The Star: “It is my job to pick the players up over the next couple of days. We know we have to be at it against a strong, physical side in Rotherham. They will be up and at us.

“We’ve got to be up for the battles. You will see a different Sheffield Wednesday side on Saturday.”

Despite their Hillsborough troubles, Gray is happy they are at home this weekend as they bid to get back on track.

“We’ve got to show character,” he said. “Probably the best thing for us is that we’ve got a local derby here against Rotherham.

“I will get a reaction from my players because I know what’s in my dressing room.”

Joe Mattock faces six weeks out with ankle ligament damage and Gray admits it is a “big blow” losing the left-back’s services for such a lengthy period.

He said: “He went over on his ankle and the frustrating thing is, it wasn’t a proper tackle.

“He caught his studs in the turf and his body weight went over on the ankle. We wish him well and a quick recovery.

“The good thing is we have players who can fill in and I thought Jeremy Helan did well on Tuesday, particularly in the second half.”