‘Back-to-back home games will define season’

Steve Bruce believes Wednesday’s upcoming successive home matches will decide our play-off hopes.

Speaking after the goalless draw at Stoke left us three points from the play-off places, Bruce said: “We’re still in there with a shout and now we have back-to-back home games which will define our season.”

The first of those two matches comes next Saturday against fifth-placed Aston Villa – the club who sacked Bruce earlier in the season – and then we face another of the play-off chasers when Forest visit Hillsborough on the following Tuesday.

Commenting on the draw at Stoke, Bruce said: “We gave the ball away too often and too cheaply.”

However, he added that the resilience and attitude of the side earnt us the draw and pointed to the various injury problems, including losing Rolando Aarons in the warm-up at Stoke, not helping matters.

Bruce said: “We are playing a bit of a makeshift team at the moment. Stoke have very good players for this level and considering the problems we have had it is a point gained.”

The Owls boss praised Gary Hooper for his performance after 15 months on the sidelines, revealing that he was only told on the morning of the game that he was playing: “We are delighted Hooper played over an hour. It will do him the world of good physically and mentally.”

And Bruce had special words for Keiren Westwood following his two outstanding second-half stops, particularly the first one from Bojan, saying: “It was a wonderful save from Bojan. He has given us that assurance since coming back into the team.”


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