Owls all set for PNE test

Sheffield Wednesday striker Atdhe Nuhiu
Sheffield Wednesday striker Atdhe Nuhiu
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Sheffield Wednesday host Preston North End at Hillsborough this weekend on the back of some improved form.

The Owls have won their last three games – victories over Fulham and Brentford in the league sandwiching a 1-0 success at Newcastle in the Capital One Cup.

A goalless draw at Bolton previous to the trio of wins halted a form dip which had seen back-to-back defeats.

Such an upturn in form has pleased Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal although he accepts it is early days in terms of what he wants from a squad which underwent a summer overhaul.

Carvalhal said: “We needed patience and time but we are improving game by game.

“We can’t sleep because in the Championship if you sleep one minute, the opponent will kill you so I am here to wake everybody up.

“Everyone understands that teamwork is the key. If everyone puts the team first, we can be successful.”

Carvahal is part of the new furniture at Hillsborough.

He arrived at the end of June to succeed Stuart Gray.

On his watch, 15 new players have arrived in the blue corner of South Yorkshire.

Among them is former Preston winger Ross Wallace, signed on a Bosman after leaving Burnley.

The net has been cast further than East Lancashire for signings though, Maro Matias and Lucas Joao both having arrived from Nacional in Portugal.

Another arrival from Portugal was Vincent Sasso, on loan from Braga.

Modou Sougou came from French club Marseille, with Alex Lopez joining in a loan deal from Celta Vigo.

There has been recruitment done closer to home, one-time Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan having joined from Crystal Palace and likely to be playing down Wednesday’s left flank against North End.

Carvahal has been pleased to see his strikers scoring in recent games – a problem which PNE counterpart Simon Grayson still has to solve.

Towering Austrian front man Atdhe Nuhiu, who stands 6ft 6in, was on target in the 2-1 win at Brentford, as was Joao.

Lewis McGugan scored their winner at Newcastle, with Fernando Forestieri among the scorers against Fulham.

Forestieri has been nursing a hamstring strain of late but may return against Preston.

Carvalhal said: “I’m happy the strikers are scoring.

“It is great that we scored six goals in one week and different players scored.

“It means that we don’t have a dynamic where we are relying on the strikers.

“All of the team can score and that is important.

“It’s not just about strikers scoring. Football is a collective game.

“We have got good players who can put the ball into good areas in Ross Wallace, Barry Bannan, Kieran Lee, Alex Lopez and Lewis McGugan.”