Sheffield Wednesday go on attack after play-off defeats

Adam Reach.
Adam Reach.
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Sheffield Wednesday’s squad has an attacking look about it and a big selection issue for Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal will be finding room for all his strikers.

Gary Hooper, Jordan Rhodes, Steven Fletcher, Fernando Forestieri, Atdhe Nuhiu and Lucas Joao are the front men available to the South Yorkshire outfit.

It will be a case of six into two as far as the forward line goes for Wednesday’s visit to Preston.

Hooper and Rhodes are set to get the nod, and it could be that Forestieri finds a place on the wing.

“Our strike force has to be right up there in the top three or four in the league,” said Hooper who played under PNE boss Alex Neil during his Norwich days.

“We have a lot of strikers at the club. I might need to go back to playing on the wing!

“But joking aside, you have to have that competition if you are going to do well.

“The competition makes sure you stay at the top of your game.”

Wednesday have reached the play-offs for the last two seasons but are to still find a way out of the Championship.

In May, Huddersfield beat them in the semi-finals.

The year before, they lost in the final to Hull City.

With cash being splashed by some clubs at this level, it won’t be any easier to get out this time.

Hooper said: “It will be the hardest Championship ever.

“There are so many teams who will be looking to get promotion.

“In the division there are loads of big teams such as Norwich, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Derby, Sunderland.

“We have to focus on us and not worry about anyone else.

“We have to aim high and look to win every game.

“I think we have the squad to do well, we just have to be consistent.”

Wednesday have done only limited incoming transfer business this summer.

Rhodes officially became a full-time Owl having been on loan from Middlesbrough since January.

George Boyd arrived on a Bosman from Burnley, the midfielder set to make his competitive debut against North End.

One of the familiar faces in the Wednesday squad to PNE supporters is Adam Reach.

He spent much of the 2105/16 season on loan with Preston from Middlesbrough and this time last year, the Lilywhites were still in with a chance of getting him for a second stint.

However, Wednesday came in with a £5m bid just before the August transfer deadline.

Reach played much of last season at left-back – wearing the No.9 shirt – and is likely to play there this weekend.

He scored Wednesday’s late equaliser at Deepdale last December.

Another former Preston player in the Owls ranks is Ross Wallace, so too David Jones who had a loan spell at Deepdale in 2005.

PNE have their fair share of ex-Wednesday players in the shape of Stevie May, Marnick Vermijl and Tommy Spurr.