Our Sheffield Wednesday blogger Danny Wearin looks at Stuart Gray’s credentials, as the caretaker manager bids for the permanent manager’s job at Hillsborough.
Has Gray done enough to earn the job on a permanent basis?
With only one win in 17 games and six points adrift of safety, Dave Jones was sacked on 1st December following a 2-0 defeat at Blackpool.
Stuart Gray was put in caretaker charge, assisted by former Wednesday captain Lee Bullen.
Gray’s first challenge was a visit from league leaders Leicester City.
Just three minutes into the game the Owls were behind and it looked like the bad form was to continue.
However, two fantastic Connor Wickham strikes gave Wednesday all three points and the perfect start for the caretaker boss.
Four days later, Wednesday hosted Nottingham Forest and a first half Simon Cox goal condemned Gray to his first defeat.
Wednesday travelled to Watford as the only side in the league to have not kept a clean sheet.
A stunning Wickham free-kick was enough to give the owls their first away win of the campaign along with that illusive first clean sheet.
Bournemouth left Hillsborough with maximum points with a 2-1 victory against an injury struck owls outfit.
After back to back away draws with Blackburn and Charlton, Wednesday defeated Blackpool 2-0 on New Year’s Day but could only manage a replay against Conference side Macclesfield Town in the third round of the FA Cup.
Gray and his reviving team then welcomed Yorkshire rivals Leeds United to S6. Six was the number of goals the owls scored in a performance of the season effort against Brian McDermott’s side.
Two goals from recently recalled striker Caolan Lavery were the pick of the bunch in the devastating demolition of Leeds.
Wednesday eventually booked their place in round four of the FA Cup with three late goals to knock out a valiant Macclesfield in the replay.
Gray took his free-scoring owls to promotion chasing Burnley last Saturday and mustered a brave performance.
Wednesday headed back to Yorkshire with a share of the spoils with an equalising goal through Chris Maguire. The Owls stretched their unbeaten run to seven games.
Stuart Gray’s record at SWFC now stands at: P11, W5, D4, L2, F19, A8.
How much more does the caretaker manager need to do to be named as manager of the club on a permanent basis?
Gray said following his sides draw at Burnley: “We’re unbeaten in seven now. Probably the next thing the chairman will throw at me is to get a penalty as we’ve not had one all season.”
He added “it’s down to the chairman and when he wants to make that decision. The boys are putting in unbelievable effort and commitment, so nobody can say that the players aren’t playing for the manager.”