Sheffield Wednesday: Former Owls star is praying his old club pip Sheffield United to promotion
Former Owls favourite Benito Carbone is praying his old club secure promotion to the Premier League before Sheffield United.
Seventeen years have passed since Wednesday last competed in the top tier of English football.
But expectations have risen at Hillsborough following back-to-back play-off finishes and the Owls are currently under-achieving, lying in 12th position.
As for their near rivals United, Chris Wilder’s side have taken the league by the storm and sit in fourth place after 20 matches. The Blades have spent considerably less in the transfer market compared to the Owls but are eight places and 10 points better off.
Carbone, a popular figure as a player at Hillsborough in the late 90s, said: “Sheffield Wednesday MUST be in Premier League. Heaven forbid if Sheffield United do it first.
“I don’t know all developments and dynamics about last year, but the fact is that Sheffield Wednesday cannot afford to stay away from Premier League for so long. It is one of the most historical clubs in England, so I think that they are rightfully owed a place in Premier League. They’ve been on the verge, so I guess one the day they will hire me, we’ll get it done!”
Although the Owls are on a seven-match unbeaten run, Carvalhal’s men are six points shy of the play-off placings heading into the Christmas period.
Carbone, a £3 million record buy when he was signed from Inter Milan in 1996, believes Carvalhal should be facing the sack if he fails to take Wednesday up at the third time of asking.
When asked if Carvalhal has to lead Wednesday to promotion to keep his job, Carbone said: “Absolutely! If your boss decides to win a championship, that must be your only target.
“No matter how you achieve it, whether it’s winning the title or securing promotion through the playoffs.
“Look at what Verona did last year; it was a team built to win a straight promotion, but they reached Serie A via the play-offs.
“You can experience adverse circumstances, but when you are given a project like that, winning is your key responsibility.”
The Italian went on to praise the job Carvalhal has done in guiding the Owls to back-to-back play-off finishes, saying: “He has done a great job when there were no expectations.
“When they weren’t supposed to win anything he led the team to the play-offs.”