Sheffield Wednesday: Gray pays tribute to rivals boss

Alex Mowatt has been one of Leeds' shining lights this season.
Alex Mowatt has been one of Leeds' shining lights this season.

Owls boss Stuart Gray has paid tribute to Neil Redfearn ahead of tomorrow’s Yorkshire derby at Hillsborough.

Redfearn is Leeds United’s third head coach of the season and the former Barnsley midfielder is currently working alone after assistant Steve Thompson was suspended for an unspecified reason by the Championship club on April 2.

Since Thompson’s exit, the Whites have lost five on the spin and Saturday’s 2-1 loss away at Charlton Athletic was marred by six players; goalkeeper Marco Silvestri, centre-backs Giuseppe Bellusci and Dario Del Fabro and strikers Mirco Antenucci, Souleymane Doukara and Edgar Cani, withdrawing before Leeds’ team bus was set to leave their training ground for London.

Bellusci, Cani and Antenucci will miss the trip to South Yorkshire while Silvestri (back) is a big doubt. Doukara and Del Fabro have resumed first-team training and could be included in Redfearn’s match-day squad.

Despite their troubles off the field, the Whites lie in 16th position going into the final two fixtures.

“Neil [Redfearn] has done things the right way with his coaching badges,” said Gray. “He was the academy manager at Leeds and ended up getting promoted to the senior job. He knows who he is working with and put his faith in the kids.

“People will say it has been a difficult period at Leeds but Neil has come out with a lot of credit and dignity.”

The Wednesday chief is under no illusions at the size of the task facing his team. Having watched the DVD of Leeds’s clash at The Valley, Gray believes they were “unlucky” to go home empty-handed.

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