Sheffield Wednesday: Luhukay to cut first-team numbers

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Boss Jos Luhukay plans to trim the size of his Sheffield Wednesday squad between now and the start of next season.

The Dutchman had 30 senior men and eight academy players at his disposal when the Owls reported back from their summer break last month.

Jos Luhukay

Jos Luhukay

But Luhukay, preparing for his first full campaign in the Championship after his January appointment, wants a leaner operation in place before August 4 opening day at Wigan Athletic.

"I think at the end we will have maybe 24 to 25 players," he said.

Wednesday have already sold right-back Jack Hunt to Bristol City and allowed striker Jordan Rhodes to join Norwich City on a year-long loan and Luhukay is banking on a less-crowded treatment room as he reduces the numbers.

An injury pile-up last term robbed the Owls of key performers such as attackers Gary Hooper, Steven Fletcher and Fernando Forestieri, midfielders Barry Bannan, Sam Hutchinson and Kieran Lee, centre-half Tom Lees and goalkeeper Keiren Westwood.

"Normally, you always have one, two or three players who are maybe injured," Luhukay said. "I hope we don't have the problem we had with injuries last year when I came to Sheffield."

Wednesday head to Lincoln City for the first of only three public pre-season friendlies tonight when they will be backed by a 3,000-strong away following.

"We want good preparation," the manager stressed. "We have a couple of friendly games but we can also play 11 against 11 in the training sessions if we want to. We are very flexible with our work.

"We must have very high concentration and focus in this pre-season."

Luhukay is relishing finally having the chance to prepare his players properly after a hectic schedule of fixtures when he took over from Carlos Carvalhal.

"We have time to plan and train," he said. "In the time I have been here, we have not done so much training.

"Every time, we had games. Now we have the focus of more training so we can do more on our formation, tactics and the way we like to play."

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