Since the departure of Dave Jones from Hillsborough before Christmas, Sheffield Wednesday have enjoyed a string of results which has catapulted them out of the relegation zone and instilled a greater belief within the club, for now.
Clearly the impact of Stuart Gray, the caretaker manager, has played an important role in this and the Wednesday chairman, Milan Mandaric, must surely be looking to appoint Gray in a more permanent role until at least the end of the season.
Gray's short tenure has so far produced some very impressive performances from the Owls. Most noteworthy was the 6-0 demolition of Yorkshire rivals Leeds at Hillsborough. Alongside this there have been useful away points, particularly the recent draw at high flying Burnley, and also progression in the FA Cup after a 4-1 replay victory against Macclesfield.
This game could have proved to be a giant killing particularly if it took place under Dave Jones' tenure. Wednesday have also improved in front of goal where they are now more prolific whilst at the same time improving their defensive capabilities.
Gray appears to have revitalised a squad that looked in need of a huge lift before Christmas. He has given opportunities to players who seemed to have been cast adrift under Jones' management and inspired the squad to believe that they can beat anyone once they take to the pitch, all whilst being restrained financially. Belief is clear to see and this has given a huge lift to everyone associated with the club.
So what is holding back Mandaric in appointing Gray as permanent manager at the club?
It could be that Mandaric is happy with the way results are at present and does not believe there is anything to gain by appointing Gray at this moment in time and will not want complacency to creep in to the club.
Gray is looking to prove his worth as a manager at the club and is doing a good job so why change things at present? Mandaric though is also a businessman so he knows that if Gray continues doing a good job then the Owls will maintain their Championship status for next season and therefore keep the existing value of the club. He will also not need to employ a manager which will also save the club in terms of extra outgoings.
However, there is also the school of thought that Mandaric is biding his time to appoint the right man for the job. This could be an insult to Gray after the hard work he has put in but it is also a reality in modern football. After all, in today's football, all managers are deemed caretakers.
The recent sacking of Paul Ince by Blackpool has fuelled speculation that he could be the next manager at Hillsborough and as more managers bite the dust during the remainder of the season other names could be linked with the job again.
Clearly Mandaric is happy at present, or at least has not found his ideal man for the job, but Wednesday are in no rush as their desperate plight is no longer as desperate as it was just over a month ago.
Gray, however, cannot rest on his laurels and will need to keep up his positive run of results for the benefit of himself, the players and the club. Fingers crossed he can continue to rescue The Owls from the ignominy of life back in League One which would be a huge blow for a club desperate to return to the Premier League in the near future.
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