VIDEO: Dom Howson previews Owls tie with Gunners

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Head coach Carlos Carvalhal is backing his Sheffield Wednesday side to cope without playmaker Fernando Forestieri when they lock horns with Premier League giants Arsenal.

In-form forward Forestieri is cup-tied, having already played in the competition for Watford this season.

Fernando Forestieri

Fernando Forestieri

The former Italy Under-21 international, a £3m capture from the Hornets in August, has bagged three goals in seven Owls starts, including the decisive strike in Friday’s televised victory over Rotherham United.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference this afternoon, Carvalhal said: “Fernando is an important player for us.

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“We don’t have another player with his attributes to link midfield and attack. He is a special player but we have played without Fernando in the past and won. We are a team.

“Of course, when we have everybody fit, we are more strong.”

With Forestieri unavailable for selection, Atdhe Nuhiu and Sergiu Bus are vying to partner Lucas Joao, who has recovered from having one of his teeth knocked out against the Millers last week, up front.

Carvalhal also confirmed he will rest first-choice goalkeeper Keiren Westood and hand a start to academy graduate Joe Wildsmith.

“We don’t want to take any risks,” he said. “Our priority is the Championship.

“Keiren Westwood will not be in the squad. He is playing with a small pain. It can be a big pain if he doesn’t stop some days.

“We don’t want to lose a player for three to four weeks. We prefer he doesn’t play the match and will be ready for Saturday.

“Keiren Westwood is a fantastic goalkeeper and Joe will be fantastic in the future. Because we trust him, he must play some games. He has done really well since the friendly matches. He has kept clean sheets against Bolton and Newcastle so we have absolute confidence in him.

“It is good for Joe and the club.”

The Portuguese has indicated he will shuffle his pack. Liam Palmer, Vincent Sasso, Rhoys Wiggins, Jose Semedo and Lewis McGugan could all be recalled.

Skipper Glenn Loovens and Sam Hutchinson are nursing minor problems so may not be risked.

Tomorrow’s tie will be a repeat of the 1993 League Cup final which Arsenal edged 2-1.

Carvalhal said: “It will be a fantastic day for Sheffield Wednesday because people will remember the past. We hope that it can be the norm in the future. It will be a fantastic night in front of a full stadium and the game is on TV.

“We are playing a very strong team, one of the best in the world. They (Arsenal

) are joint top of the table and in the last six games they have scored 18 goals and played against Bayern Munich and Manchester United.

“They have played a lot of big teams and are scoring three goals per game so I think it is normal that they are completely favourites to go through to the next phase. If I said the opposite, people probably would not believe what I am saying.

“They have strong players and a fantastic squad. They have a fantastic coach so it will be a very hard game.”

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