Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Weds: Gray – Owls stand-ins have chance to shine

Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray.
Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray.
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SHEFFIELD Wednesday head coach Stuart Gray will be forced to put out a makeshift defence tonight at Nottingham Forest after losing two more centre-halves.

Gray bemoaned the “spooky” spate of injuries which has seen Glenn Loovens and Onyewu join a long list of central defenders who have been sidelined this year, including Anthony Gardner, Kamil Zayatte and Martin Taylor.

The duo limped off in the 2-1 defeat at Leicester City on Friday night and both will be out for the next fortnight, meaning Gray has few options at the back.

He is expected to start with the defence which finished the Foxes game, with right-back Lewis Buxton partnering the experienced Miguel Llera, and midfielder Liam Palmer slotting in at right-back. Joe Mattock will continue in place of injured left-back Reda Johnson.

“I’ll probably go with the same back four that finished at Leicester,” said Gray. “It’s amazing how it (the injury situation) just goes on, but I’ll get 11 out there who’ll have a right good go.

“It’s spooky. We’re down to the bare bones. but credit to the players – all I ask of them is 100 per cent and they do that for me. We’ve got nine first-team players in the treatment room but it gives opportunities for others to shine.

“We’ve been working on the back four and hopefully it will come good for us at Forest.

“Miguel has been patient. He’s a top professional, he’s looked after himself, kept himself fit.”

Last six games: Nottingham Forest DDLLDL Sheffield Wednesday WWLWLL.

Last time: Nottingham Forest 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0; November 17, 2012; Championship.

Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland).