Sheffield Wednesday v Watford: Plenty of choice awaits Gray for Watford visit

Sheffield Wednesday's Sam Hutchinson.

Sheffield Wednesday's Sam Hutchinson.

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Stuart Gray has been in football long enough to know being a manager is a hazardous profession.

The Sheffield Wednesday manager only needs to look at today’s visitors Watford, who have gone through four bosses since they won 4-1 at Hillsborough earlier this year.

Giueseppe Sannino was in charge that April day, but since then Oscar Garcia and Billy McKinlay have been and gone, before Slavisa Jokanovic took over this month.

“I am sure since we played them they have had three or four managers,” said Gray, who is approaching his first anniversary in charge of the Owls.

“But Watford are a good side, have pace in their side, and can turn defence into attack very quickly.”

Gray will hope to combat that today, and has been boosted by the return to fitness of midfield duo Kieran Lee and Sam Hutchinson, who have missed a large chunk of the campaign.

With just Kamil Zayatte and Caolan Lavery out injured, Gray has plenty of pondering to do over his line-up today.

“We have a lot of people looking to scrap to get into that starting XI,” said Gray, who is without the suspended Chris Maguire.

“Sam is a good player (and Kieran Lee), but the pleasing thing is people class them as our better players, but we won games without them.

“I am a great believer you train how you play, and play as you train. There’s nobody shirking responsibility on the training pitch and it becomes very competitive. I have to be a very good referee at times.”

Left-back Joe Mattock is one booking away from an automatic one-game suspension, but Gray said he would not be asking the defender to tone down his approach. “If he does that, he’s not going to be in the team,” said Gray.

Scotland’s Stevie May and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood returned unused and unscathed from international duty.

“Stevie will be disappointed that he didn’t get a run-out, but he will get a lot of confidence in being involved with the full squad,” said Gray. “It’s the same disappointment for Keiren Westwood.

“But they have both come back okay, joined in training (on Thursday) and are very buoyant as well.”

Voted as the best value club in Yorkshire in a BBC study this week, the Owls today are offering a special family ticket rate.

For example, a ticket for two adults and two children under 17 costs £60, which represents a saving of £28.

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