Gray coloured Lees’s view over swapping Leeds for Owls

Owls skipper Glenn Loovens with Tom Lees.
Owls skipper Glenn Loovens with Tom Lees.
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Sheffield Wednesday have become a team transformed under head coach Stuart Gray.

That’s the view of Owls defender Tom Lees, who has revealed the lure of working under Gray was one of the reasons he opted to switch from Leeds United to Hillsborough last summer.

Wednesday have been turned from a side battling relegation to play-off contenders in just 12 months.

“I thought Wednesday had the chance to do something positive this season, when I signed, because I watch a lot of football and noticed how well they did the second half of last season,” said the 24-year-old.

“Stuart came in and totally turned the team around. They are unrecognisable from the Wednesday which people have seen before.

“Coming to Wednesday I wasn’t thinking I was coming to get in a relegation battle, I was positive if we played to our full potential - with maybe a couple of additions - that we could have a good season and maybe surprise a few people.

“One of the big draws coming to Wednesday in the summer was to work with Stuart (Gray). I spoke to a lot of people about him, and they were all positive.

“Stuart has changed the perception of Sheffield Wednesday. I remember when I have played them previous years, they were always a very big team, fairly direct and scored a lot from set-plays. The style of play has changed under Stuart.

“Optimism is high. It was easy to get frustrated when we went through a spell of picking up draws, which could have been wins, and people were getting disappointed.

“But all season there have not been too many teams that have played us off the park, and it’s been a one-sided game. I can probably think of once or twice where we have deserved to lose a game, that’s not bad.

“We have always been solid, now we have managed to pick up a few wins, it’s really installed the confidence and we have a very positive dressing room.

“I am really loving it at Wednesday. Just for the club’s sake, I am just praying that we can keep this run, the momentum, going.

“We just have to be careful. We are at a very fine stage where a couple of weeks without a win, and you could be dragged back down, because the league is so tight.

“We just need to focus on the next few games, pick up a good haul of points, and we can be concreted in the top half of the table.

“Going into the last couple of months of the season, if you are still around the play-offs, you have a great chance.”

On a personal note, Lees is hoping to break his Owls duck and score a goal in the second half of the season.

“I have been really disappointed not to get on the scoresheet,” he said. “I have had a quite a few opportunities where I probably should have.

“That’s something I will try to improve on. But keeping clean sheets, not conceding too many goals, it’s a good place to start from.”