Sheffield Wednesday: ‘Focus on ourselves’ says Owls boss Stuart Gray ahead of Derby test

Owls boss Stuart Gray
Owls boss Stuart Gray

Sheffield Wednesday chief Stuart Gray insists that the Owls must focus on themselves when they face Championship heavyweights Derby tomorrow at the iPro Stadium.

Wednesday make the short trip to Derby without a win in six games, and face a formidable test against Steve McClaren’s third-placed side.

But Gray, who could welcome back Jose Semedo if the Portuguese shakes off an ankle/toe infection, said: “We might have to defend a lot against Derby because we are playing against a good side. But when we get opportunities to hurt them we’ve got to take them.

“We’ve not done badly against the top teams away from home this season... we got a good win at Middlesbrough, remember.

“But we need to get back to performing well away from home and we want to bounce back. “We have got to make sure we play better than what did in our last away game [a 2-1 defeat at Ipswich].

“Steve’s got a lot of strength in depth but I’m more concerned with what we do.”

Gray watched McClaren’s side in action during their 3-3 draw with Rotherham United on Tuesday evening, leaving with the Millers still leading 3-2.

But he will no doubt be aware of the threat posed by Derby’s forward line, including Tom Ince and England international Darren Bent - who have scored eight goals between them in Derby’s last three games.

Wednesday’s back line is equipped to cope, of course; they have the second-best defensive record in the Championship, conceding just 28 goals in 31 league games.

Owls winger Jeremy Helan said: “Every game is tough in this league, whether you play a team in the bottom three or the top three.

“It’s going to be hard whoever you face.

“We have proved in the past that we can get good results away from home, so it’s about belief.

“We have defensively been very good away from home.

“We have been compact and hard to beat.

“We drew with Brighton last weekend but we kept a clean sheet so hopefully that was the first step.

“Maybe the second step is to go to Derby, be compact and get the win.”

Chris Maguire is available again after completing a two-match ban, and Will Keane’s injury is not as bad as first feared.

But Glenn Loovens faces a long lay off as he needs ankle surgery.