THERE will certainly be no old pals’ act this afternoon as far as Sheffield Wednesday’s head coach Stuart Gray is concerned.
The Owls are safely ensconced in mid-table with three games to go, but the visitors are not ready to bask in the south coast sun.
The focus will be on leaders Bournemouth at the Goldsands Stadium as they aim to take another giant step towards promotion to the Premier League.
Gray, who worked with Cherries chief Eddie Howe at Burnley, has repeatedly said in the past few weeks that his side will not be caught “wearing their flip-flops” because pride and players’ futures are at stake during the final games of the campaign.
For Wednesday, breaching the 60-point mark for just the third time in 11 seasons in the second tier following relegation from the top tier in 1999-2000 is also something at which to aim.
Having thrown a spanner in the works for play-off aspirants Brentford on Tuesday, the Owls have the opportunity of making it a distinctly uncomfortable afternoon for Bournemouth, at a venue where they triumphed 4-2 last term.
Gray said: “We want to give Bournemouth a good game. We have three good games left and I want nine points. Two of them are away from home against very good sides. We want to get as high up the league as possible.
“I worked with Eddie (Howe)for 12 months when he came in and took over the Burnley job; I have a lot of time for him.
“I learned a lot from Eddie and he will probably say he learned a lot from me.
“He’s very articulate and hands-on at the training ground.
“He puts a lot of hours in. He’s a student of the game. He’s a very placid, calm and collective individual. He’s a very good coach who puts on good sessions and what he has done with Bournemouth is fantastic.”