Sheffield Wednesday: Gray unconcerned by speculation over duo

Owls boss Stuart Gray
Owls boss Stuart Gray
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Sheffield Wednesday chief Stuart Gray has shrugged off speculation suggesting Keiren Westwood and Tom Lees’ futures may lie away from Hillsborough.

Several Premier League clubs are thought to be tracking goalkeeper Westwood and centre-back Lees following their stellar performances for the Owls this campaign.

When quizzed on their futures, Gray said: “I don’t worry about speculation.

“It’s good when you are asking me about them. It means they must be performing well. Probably this time last year, you would not have been asking that question. It shows how far we have come as a football club.”

Despite bolstering his squad with the captures of Lewis Baker and Will Keane, Gray is eager to bring in more reinforcements before the transfer window shuts on February 2 at 11pm. He is concentrating on the free transfer and loan markets but has identified potential targets should the Thai investors interested in taking over the club come in and provide him with the cash to buy players.

Gray has hinted Wednesday may have to change their style of play as they prepare to take on Birmingham City at Hillsborough tonight. Due to the adverse weather in South Yorkshire, the playing surface is not in the greatest condition, which could force the Owls into playing a more direct brand of football.

He will be without Sam Hutchinson, who serves a one-match suspension following his red card against Bolton Wanderers, but he could hand a debut to Manchester United loanee Will Keane.

The Owls chief is refusing to underestimate a Birmingham City side who he watched lose 2-1 to Premier League West Bromwich Albion in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Clayton Donaldson and Demarai Gray are in line for first-team recalls.

Gray said: “Birmingham played reasonably well against West Brom. They are a difficult side to break down. We will need to be patient on a difficult to pitch but we have to get back to winning ways.

“Gary (Rowett) has gone in and got them compact, organised and working hard for each other. He’s got a successful team going forward.

“They might be a little fatigued after playing on Saturday and will be disappointed they got knocked out of the FA Cup on their own patch against their local rivals.

“But I’m more concerned with my players giving an eight or nine out of 10 performance.”

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