Sheffield Wednesday caretaker manager Stuart Gray has appealed for fans to behave themselves at today’s Yorkshire derby with Leeds United.
Last season, the Hillsborough derby with Leeds was overshadowed when Whites fan Arron Cawley invaded the pitch and attacked Owls goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.
It sparked a furious outburst from then Wednesday manager Dave Jones – the target of abusive chants from away fans – who labelled Leeds fans as “vile animals”.
But ahead of the first return by Leeds to Hillsborough since that horror night 15 months ago, Wednesday hope the game will pass without incident.
No tickets are on sale today at the gates for a 12.15pm kick-off, and Cawley – jailed for four months for the assault on Kirkland and a six-year football banning order – has been warned to stay away, following Twitter claims he could attend the game.
A Wednesday statement said: “Our understanding is that Aaron Cawley is the subject of a banning order and consequently South Yorkshire Police will take the appropriate action should he come within a mile of the stadium on Saturday.”
And Gray – who will meet owner Milan Mandaric after today’s game to discuss his future – is hoping for calm in the stadium, both on and off the pitch. “Unfortunately, it just takes one person to ruin the game,” said Gray. “Last season we were talking about that incident rather than talking about the football. We have got out of the bottom three, we want to climb up the league. We want to claw other teams closer to us.
“Hopefully we will be talking about a very good game of football afterwards. We want the fans to come and behave themselves.”