Carlos Carvalhal has told his players that the competitive nature of the Championship means that tomorrow’s clash with Preston North End at Deepdale could be even more of a challenge than the one they faced against high-flying Newcastle United on Boxing Day.
The Owls put on a superb display at St James’ Park to come out with a 1-0 win thanks to Glenn Loovens’ first goal for the club.
Now Carvalhal’s side face a different test against a Preston side who are coming off the back of a 4-1 hammering at the hands of Leeds, but who have taken a few scalps of their own so far in this campaign.
Currently sitting in mid-table, the Lilywhites have taken points off Aston Villa, Norwich City, Brighton and Huddersfield and put Premier League Bournemouth out of the EFL Cup.
Carvalhal recognises the threat that Simon Grayson’s side hold and also prefers not to put too much significance on his own team’s performance against Newcastle, pointing out that Wednesday struggled against bottom-of-the-table Rotherham a week previous.
“We understand the competition very well,” said the Owls head coach.
“We know we did a very good performance, we played very well and deserved the win against the strongest team in the competition (Newcastle) at their stadium but we don’t forget that some days before we had a lot of problems against Rotherham.
“They are the team from the bottom and it was a big, big problem to beat them.
“We don’t know that the Newcastle game will be more difficult than the Rotherham game.
“You never know in this competition. We know that we will play in Preston and will be a very tough game and probably be more dangerous or more of a threat than Newcastle. It doesn’t mean that they are better than Newcastle, they are not but they will create different problems, we know that.”
Wednesday stumbled to a 2-1 win over Preston earlier this month in a chaotic match at Hillsborough.
Fernando Forestieri had put the home side in front before picking up a red card after an off-the-ball incident involving Ben Pearson.
A Steven Fletcher penalty doubled the lead but former Spireite Eoin Doyle pulled one back late on, before a bizarre incident saw Doyle and fellow forward Jermaine Beckford sent off for fighting each other.
“We must be 100% again and fight a lot and do our work, understanding that we played against them a few weeks ago and we had a lot of problems to win the game. It was a divided game,” added Carvalhal.
“We know it will be a different game and we will be ready because we know how they play. We know the kind of things that we must do. We cant play in Preston in the way we play in Newcastle because they will give us different problems, so we must give the correct answers to the problems that Preston will put to us.”