Sheffield Wednesday: Injury woes made play-off quest harder than last year admits Carlos Carvalhal

Gary Hooper was one of the key men ruled out with a long term injury this season
Gary Hooper was one of the key men ruled out with a long term injury this season
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Owls chief Carlos Carvalhal says injuries to a number of key players made the task of qualifying for the Championship play-offs considerably harder this year.

Almost half of the team who featured prominently in Wednesday’s charge to Wembley last term, including Tom Lees, Kieran Lee and Gary Hooper, have endured long injury lay-offs.

Carlos Carvalhal

Carlos Carvalhal

But despite the setbacks, the Owls have kept going and secured a top-six finish with a match to spare thanks to Saturday’s hard-earned win at Ipswich Town. Lee, who has only recently returned following hip surgery, claimed his fifth goal of the campaign to extend Wednesday’s unbeaten run to seven matches.

Carvalhal said he was always confident the team’s performances and results would improve as soon as their injuries cleared up.

He told The Star: “It made our work more difficult when Kieran was out for three months and Gary Hooper out for five months.

“We were without Tom Lees and Fernando Forestieri for a lot of time as well. It is more credit to our work because we achieved a play-off with all these circumstances.”

Wednesday’s midfield options will further increase over the coming weeks with Sam Hutchinson (calf) and David Jones (illness) edging closer to first-team returns.

“We have some problems during the season but I said all the time that this competition is a marathon,” said Carvalhal. “It is not a speed race.

“In the marathons, a lot of things happen.

“We lost six players who played in the play-offs last season and we are still there and fighting. Not with great football but we have played with efficiency.”