Sheffield Wednesday: Championship progress is Owls’ top prority, says boss

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Challenging for promotion to the Premier League is top of Carlos Carvalhal’s ‘to do’ list this season.

But the Sheffield Wednesday boss is demanding his team be competitive in the cup competitions.

Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal and owner Dejhon Chansiri

Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal and owner Dejhon Chansiri

Carvalhal’s men face League Two Mansfield Town in the first round of the Capital One Cup tonight aiming to secure back-to-back home victories for the first time since March 2014.

When asked where the Owls’ priorities lie, Carvalhal said: “Of course our main competition and focus is the Championship. That is our number one competition.

“When I talk like this, I’m not saying we don’t have ambitions to win match by match. We will try to do our best in other competitions. I push the players, even in training, to win the games.”

The Portuguese has promised to field his strongest possible line-up but suggested he will rest some players who are not 100% fit. Jack Hunt and Ross Wallace may not be considered for first-team duty. Run-outs could be given to new arrivals Rhoys Wiggins and former Marseille winger Modou Sougou.

It is often said a good cup run can financially boost a club’s coffers but Carvalhal does not buy into the theory that it always has a positive knock on effect to a team’s league form.

The Portuguese said: “It depends. I followed the clubs in the Championship last year, and in my opinion, it disturbed some teams in the last part of the competition. They had problems and probably didn’t get promoted because they were in a different competition.”

Carvalhal, who has confirmed Claude Dielna (toe) and Filipe Melo (knee) remain “one to two weeks away” from pushing for first-team returns, is refusing to take Mansfield lightly.

“We know it will be difficult,” he said. “Mansfield have good coaches, are well organised and believe they can beat stronger teams. We must be careful.”

Wednesday go into tonight’s contest as big odds-on favourites to reach the next round of the tournament.

Carvalhal said: “Everything is in the mind of a player. They must go on to the pitch with the same enthusiasm and attitude they showed against Bristol City and play good, aggressive football. If we play our best, we will win.

“We must focus on what we can control.”

Tickets have been slashed to £12 adults and £6 for under-17s and over-65s.