Season Preview: Sheffield Wednesday
There will have been a feeling of relief over Hillsborough at the end of the last season given that they came dangerously close to relegation back to League One after an awful start to the league campaign. Wednesday had only just survived the previous season under the stewardship of Dave Jones and the expectation was that they may improve on last season and move into the group of mid-table clubs. That did not materialise as they suffered a disastrous start to the season not winning until early November, their 13th game of the season. By that stage they were stuck at the bottom of the table and after another three defeats on the spin at the end of the month Dave Jones was sacked and replaced on a short term basis by his assistant Stuart Gray. Gray's appointment coincided with a dramatic upturn in form as they went six games unbeaten over the Christmas period. That continued into the second half of the season as they moved away from the relegation zone and appointed Gray on a permanent basis. They suffered an indifferent end to the season losing five of their last eight games but they were comfortable enough not to be dragged back down into the relegation fight, finally finishing 16th.
A relative novice as a manager Stuart Gray is vastly experienced as a number two throughout his coaching career. His first managerial job came at Southampton in 2001 where succeeded Glenn Hoddle. However after a very poor start to the season he lasted only three months. His second opportunity as a manager came at Northampton Town in 2006 where he replaced John Gorman. However, in his first full season the club were relegated from League One and he lasted just six games the following campaign with the team sitting 16th in League Two. However he has continued to learn as an assistant at the likes of Aston Villa and Wolves and will hope it will be third time lucky as a manager at Sheffield Wednesday.
In: Paul McElroy (Hull City), Sam Hutchinson (Chelsea), Kieran Westwood (Sunderland), Tom Lees (Leeds Utd), Dejan Kelhar (Red Star Belgrade)
Out: Danny Mayor (Bury), Adam Davies (Barnsley), Reda Johnson (Coventry City), Miguel Llera (Scunthorpe Utd), Michail Antonio (Nottingham Forest), Jermaine Johnson (Released)
After avoiding relegation last season, Wednesday have lost a couple of key players from last season and not replaced with equal quality. Tom Lees and Kieran Westwood could be excellent additions, but given much of their success last season was built around loan signing Connor Wickham, unless a top striker in brought in to replace before the end of August they could be struggling for survival again this season.