Sheffield Wednesday: Owls braced for hectic Portugal schedule

Lucas Joao and Gary Hooper
Lucas Joao and Gary Hooper
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Three matches, double-training sessions and plenty of Albufeira sunshine.

Wednesday flew out to Faro to begin their six-day pre-season training camp yesterday. The squad checked into their swanky hotel, situated a couple of miles away from Portimao, mid-afternoon and were put through their paces in the evening.

Carlos Carvalhal

Carlos Carvalhal

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With temperatures in the high 30s and three matches in the space of four days, it promises to be an intense mini-break for the Owls.

But striker Gary Hooper is relishing the busy schedule.

He told The Star: “It should be fun playing three games in four days.

Jordan Rhodes

Jordan Rhodes

“We need the games and for players to play as many minutes as possible. We have a big squad and can make changes.

“It will be tough with the hot conditions and we play some good opponents so we will see what happens.”

The warm-weather training camp is important for team bonding, according to Hooper.

He said: “It is a vital period and gets all the lads together. We have a good bunch of lads here.

Jordan Rhodes scoring his second goal at Alfreton

Jordan Rhodes scoring his second goal at Alfreton

“The camp gets us away from home and allows us to focus on a number of different things on the training ground.

“We have no distractions and are in each other’s pockets every day. We can concentrate on training and playing the games.

“Hopefully we will train well, pick up some good results and come back feeling fit and fresh.”

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Spirits are high in Wednesday’s camp after back-to-back friendly victories over Alfreton Town and Mansfield Town.

Carlos Carvalhal’s team edged a five-goal thriller at the One Call Stadium thanks to a late strike by Lucas Joao.

Hooper, a half-time substitute, said: “It felt good to get another 45 minutes under my belt. It was a good win and a tough game.

“Mansfield stopped us from playing and defended quite well but Lucas nicked a goal in the end.”

Jordan Rhodes took his tally to three goals in two outings, heading the Owls in front after a peach of a cross by Adam Reach.

“It was a great header from Jordan,” admitted Hooper.

“He produced two good finishes at Alfreton also so he is doing well.

“Jordan’s finishing is great and he could be a big player for us this year.”

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