Sheffield Wednesday: Owls boss slams unfair fixture schedule after 2-0 defeat at Norwich

Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood can't bear to look
Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood can't bear to look

Owls boss Stuart Gray is calling on the Football League to change the Easter schedule following their defeat at automatic promotion hopefuls Norwich City.

The Canaries cruised to a 2-0 victory after a first-half double by midfielder Bradley Johnson to seal their first win over the Owls since 2002.

Wednesday travelled to Norfolk, having drawn with Huddersfield Town on Saturday, while Norwich had played on Good Friday, beating Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0.

Gray, who handed Filipe Melo his first start in one of three alterations to his starting line-up, told The Star: “If there is going to be an Easter programme, all Championship clubs should play on Good Friday and then everybody should play on the Bank Holiday Monday.

“We had some tired minds and bodies in there because we had to play Saturday and Norwich had 24 hours extra rest.

“Sports science will probably tell you it is not the right thing to do playing two times over three days.”

Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray

Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray

Nonetheless, Gray refused to use that as an excuse for their loss, insisting: “It doesn’t matter how tired you are, you have to defend better than what we did at Norwich.

“You still have got to have the desire to defend your 18-yard box properly. Both goals were avoidable.

“Against a good side who keep the ball and are going to get you moving from side to side, they are going to cause you problems and take the energy out of your legs.”

Lloyd Isgrove and Caolan Lavery spurned two good chances to put the Owls ahead before Johnson’s opener.

“I’m very frustrated; they were two big moments in the game,” admitted Gray, who has confirmed Claude Dielna will miss the rest of the campaign after suffering a hamstring problem.

“It would have been totally different game if we had taken them because they would have had to come out and hit them on the break.”