Stuart Gray, the Sheffield Wednesday head coach, has promised to not curb Glenn Loovens or Chris Maguire’s aggression by telling them to avoid bookings.
Skipper Loovens and forward Maguire are both sitting on eight yellow cards for the campaign, meaning they are two cautions away from triggering suspensions. The cut off point is Sunday April 13. Loovens and Maguire have already served one-match bans.
Gray told The Star: “I don’t want players to go out there and be treading on eggshells. The last thing I want is for players to not be fully committed. They’ve got to be fully committed and Glenn and Chris will be. If they get to the 10 yellow cards, then so be it.”
While Gray will not try to rein in the natural instincts of his players, he wants his squad to avoid picking up “cheap” yellow cards.
“If they are going to get a booking, I don’t want it to be a cheap one,” he said. “If Chris [Maguire] scores on Saturday and gets booked for taking his shirt off, that is a stupid booking.
“It’s disappointing we can’t appeal Maguire’s booking for diving at Huddersfield which was a stonewall penalty.”
Gray will have to make one enforced change, with Jose Semedo set to serve a one-match banhaving chalked up five bookings. Kieran Lee and Jacques Maghoma are vying to fill the midfield vacancy.
Another option for Gray is to hand a first-team recall to left-back Joe Mattock and move Jeremy Helan into the centre of midfield.
Blackburn Rovers entertain Wednesday tomorrow and are sweating over the fitness of Grant Hanley. The skipper sustained an ankle problem at Middlesbrough last weekend but midfielder Tom Cairney is in contention to play following his ban.
Rovers chief Gary Bowyer has revealed former Owls defender Tommy Spurr has undergone a minor groin operation.
He said: “His fitness levels are high so he’s just got to recover from the little operation now and he should be back quite quickly.”