Sheffield Wednesday: Jos Luhukay ready to go toe to toe with fellow countryman Jaap Stam

Manager Jos LuhukayManager Jos Luhukay
Manager Jos Luhukay
There will be a Dutch management team in each technical area tonight.

Owls boss Jos Luhukay and his right-hand man Remy Reynierse will renew acquaintances with Reading chief Jaap Stam and his assistant Andries Ulderink.

Luhukay and Stam played against each other in the Netherlands during their playing days but this evening’s FA Cup fourth round duel at Hillsborough will be the first time they have gone head-to-head as managers.

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Luhukay, who’s sole win in charge of the Owls since replacing Carlos Carvalhal earlier in January was against Carlisle in a third-round replay, said he has had “no contact” with Stam in recent years.

But he has plenty of respect for the job the former Manchester United defender has done at Reading. Stam surpassed all expectations by leading the Royals to the Championship Play-Off Final last year. The Berkshire club lost the showpiece fixture on penalties to Huddersfield Town, agonisingly missing out on a lucrative place in the Premier League.

“Last year was his first year in England and he did a very good job,” Luhukay told The Star. “Everyone knows that the final against Huddersfield was not such a happy end.

“It was disappointing for him personally, the team and fans to come very close to going up but for it not happen.”

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Things have been tougher this time around and Stam’s men slipped to 18th in the standings after Saturday’s defeat to Brentford.

The Royals are just four points above the relegation zone and without a league win in eight outings.

Luhukay said: “The situation is not the same this year. They played at the top of the Championship (last year) and now they must also, like us, work hard to stay in the league and maybe you can make steps for a better situation.”

Despite Reading’s struggles, Luhukay is refusing to take them lightly.

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“It will be a very hard game for both teams,” he said. “Reading have quality. They have a good structure in the team. They have fast wingers and are very dangerous there. We must have the focus and concentration to stop the quality from Reading.”

Ulderink is looking forward to meeting up with his fellow countrymen again.

He said: “I met Jos Luhukay when I went to do my badges – he was also there at the same place at the beginning, but he got a job very quickly in Germany so he left the course and went there.

“And Remy Reynierse was the one who was giving the course! I’ve met him many times through the years.”

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There is a strong chance Luhukay will give new midfielder Joey Pelupessy his Owls debut.

When asked about potential further additions, Luhukay said: “We have trust in our squad. When all the injured players come back in the next weeks, we have a strong team I think.

“I’m not a manager who says everyday we must have new players. I have trust in my squad, in my team, and we are working hard together and very intensive. So let’s see what will happen.”