Sheffield Wednesday: Top-six finish is ‘minimum’ target for Owls, claims Keiren Westwood

An emotional Keiren Westwood at the end of the Play-Off Final defeat to Hull City
An emotional Keiren Westwood at the end of the Play-Off Final defeat to Hull City
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Keiren Westwood is adamant a top-six finish should be the minimum target for Sheffield Wednesday this season.

There is just over a week to go until the Owls kick-off their 2016/17 campaign at home to newly-relegated Aston Villa in front of the TV cameras.

Wednesday came within a whisker of going up last term, losing 1-0 to Hull City in an all-Yorkshire Play-Off final.

It was a tough defeat for the Owls to take but goalkeeper Westwood is confident they will put that near miss behind them.

He told The Star: “I think we can be right up there again if we add a few players.

“I think the play-offs is the minimum target again after getting to the final. We’ve got to try and go one better.”

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Westwood was left visibly distraught at the final whistle after the Owls fell short at Wembley.

“The realisation (over missing out on promotion) set in when I woke up the next day and looked out of the window and Wembley was a stone’s throw away,” he said. “I could see Wembley and it was a kick in the teeth.

“It happens and there has to be a winner and a loser. It’s just a shame we lost.

“I don’t think anyone can say anything bad about last season. I think we all, to a man, stood up to be counted for and did great. We just fell at the final hurdle.

“It (the final) was probably too much for us. Hull were a very strong, physical side and that’s what cost us in the end.”

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After entertaining Villa on the opening weekend, the Owls head to Cambridge in the first round of the Capital One Cup followed by a tricky trip to Norwich City.

“Aston Villa and Norwich are very strong teams,” he admitted. “We have got a tough start but they won’t fancy playing us either because we are a good team.”

Wednesday boasted one of the best home records in the division last term. Thirteen of their 19 victories came in their own backyard and only Hull scored more home goals.

Westwood has warned his Owls teammates that they might have to adopt a more patient approach at Hillsborough this time around.

The Republic of Ireland, who produced two superb individual performances against Brighton and Hove Albion and Hull in their Play-Off campaign, said: “We will be a prized scalp at home.

“Teams may sit in against us and make things difficult.

“I think we saw that towards the end of last season. It took us a bit longer to break teams down.

“I think we are going to be have to be patient and wear teams down.

“But if we play the football that we have done, teams won’t like coming to us.”

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