In-form Owls look for a higher perch

Sheffield Wednesday's Glenn Loovens scores the winner against Newcastle
Sheffield Wednesday's Glenn Loovens scores the winner against Newcastle
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Sheffield Wednesday had a very happy Christmas thanks to their Boxing Day win over Newcastle United.

On Saturday, they come to Deepdale looking to maintain that festive high when they face Preston for the second time in a month.

Glenn Loovens netted the Owls’ winner at St James’ Park on Monday evening, heading the contest’s only goal in the 53rd minute.

It was a fifth win in six games, Wednesday clearly having found their form in the past month.

They will arrive in Preston in sixth place, ready to try and kick-on during the second half of the season.

Boxing Day hero Loovens said: “I expect a tough game against Preston.

“They lost 4-1 to Leeds on Boxing Day so will be looking to bounce back.

“ That result makes our job even harder.

“But there are no easy games in this league. We have seen that many times before where we have played a side near the bottom of the league and not won so we don’t take any game lightly.

“What we have to do is focus on ourselves and make sure we do the right things.”

Reflecting on the victory at Newcastle, Loovens was happy with all aspects of the game.

The Owls skipper said: “It was nice to score but I was more happy with the clean sheet – I got more joy from that.

“We were very pleased with how we have done defensively in the last three games.

“We are so well-organised at the minute as a team.

“We defend from the front and the strikers are doing so much work which helps us out massively.

“The credit has to go to the whole team.

“It was a great start to the festive period but we can’t dwell too long on the Newcastle result.”

Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal was a happy man after the win at Newcastle

“We are Sheffield Wednesday, we always fight for the three points and we played absolutely fantastic,” said Carvalhal.

“We kept the ball well and were a threat to Newcastle’s goal all the time.

“We created clear chances to score, my players were fantastic and deserve the three points.

“Newcastle’s best player was their goalkeeper. He made three or four fantastic saves.

“It was an important win, we deserved it, playing against the strongest team in the competition

“We prepared very well for the game, we have a way to play, we have big principles and are not an easy team to play against

“We go step by step, game by game and let’s see what position we will achieve in May.”

Wednesday’s good form started the week before they met North End at the start of December.

They won 2-0 at Wolves and then squeezed past PNE who finished with nine men after the red cards for fighting pair Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle.

That said, Wednesday played the last 25 minutes with 10 men after Fernando Forestieri was sent-off for pushing Ben Pearson in the face – he returned from a three-match ban on Boxing Day.

Carvalhal’s men lost 2-1 at Reading on December 10 but have won their last three.

Forestieri and Steven Fletcher are joint top scorers at Wednesday with six goals apiece.

Gary Hooper, currently out injured, has five goals and midfielder Kieran Lee four.