Sheffield Wednesday: We need to make Hillsborough a fortress, says Stuart Gray

Owls boss Stuart Gray
Owls boss Stuart Gray
  • Home form ‘not good enough’ admits boss

Stuart Gray admits Sheffield Wednesday must make Hillsborough a place to be feared if they are to compete in the upper echelons of the Championship next season.

Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Yorkshire rivals Leeds United saw the Owls slip to 14th in the standings with just one match remaining.

Gray’s men have picked up a meagre 26 points from 23 fixtures in their own backyard, hitting 16 goals and triumphing just five times.

Head coach Gray said he was “hugely disappointed” by the result against Leeds and refused to pull any punches over their below-par home record.

He told The Star: “Our away form has been excellent, we have got 17 clean sheets but our home form has not been acceptable or good enough. The players have been fantastic but we have let ourselves down at home.

“We have not given the fans much to cheer about unfortunately and I am as disappointed as they are.

“If we want to get anywhere, we have to make sure this place becomes a bit of a fortress.”

Gray, who felt Wednesday missed Lewis McGugan (groin) in midfield, is confident they will do much better on their own patch next season.

“I’m sure we will produce better home performances and results next season,” he said.

Lewis Buxton, primarily a right-back, filled in as an emergency centre-back in the derby and Gray thinks it is unlikely he will get some of his injured players back before head to Watford this weekend.

He said: “We are down to the bare bones and I don’t think we will have anyone back for the final game.”

Keiren Westwood, meanwhile, has been named in the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Championship Team of the Year.

The Owls player of the season has played a key role in the team equalling a club-record 17 clean sheets in a league season. Westwood is the only Owls man to make the side, which was voted for by Championship players.

The full team is: Goalkeeper - Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday); defenders - Russell Martin (Norwich), Richard Keogh (Derby County), George Friend (Middlesbrough), Simon Francis (Bournemouth); midfielders - Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth), Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough), Bakary Sako (Wolves), Alex Pritchard (Brentford); strikers - Daryl Murphy (Ipswich), Troy Deeney (Watford).

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