Sheffield Wednesday: Owls attack will frighten Seagulls, reckons Hinchcliffe
Ex-Owls defender Andy Hinchcliffe claims Brighton and Hove Albion will be fearful of Carlos Carvalhal's forward line ahead of the first leg of their Championship Play-Off Semi-Final.
Fernando Forestieri, Gary Hooper, Lucas Joao and Atdhe Nuhiu bagged 41 goals between them to help Wednesday seal a top-six finish.
It is likely Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal will pair Forestieri and Hooper together up front when the Owls entertain the Seagulls tomorrow night.
And Hinchcliffe, a well-respected Sky Sports pundit, believes Brighton will find it tough to keep Wednesday’s array of attacking talent at bay.
He has told The Star: “Brighton have done well over the course of the season but if I were them, I would be very worried about Fernando Forestieri and Gary Hooper and what they can produce.
“Wednesday have a solid defence and got a lot of creativity in their side. Kieran Lee is another player I have admired for a very long time.
“If those guys have their day, Wednesday can score two or three goals and take the tie away from Brighton.”
Brighton agonisingly missed out on an automatic promotion place on the final day of the regular season and Hinchcliffe has questioned their abiility to pick themselves up following that disappointment.
“You have to wonder what Brighton’s state of mind will be like after missing out on automatic promotion,” he said. “They won’t be feeling good about themselves and in some ways will feel like they have failed.
“When you come so close and miss out, you sometimes get the feeling that it is not going to be your season. It will be tough for Brighton.
“It might be that Brighton take that disappointment of missing out on the top-two into the games or it could be that it galvanises the side and they say ‘this is our chance to put it right’.
“But I think it’s ideal that Wednesday are home in the first leg because they can hit Brighton where it hurts.
“Wednesday will want to get the crowd behind them and at Brighton in the first 15 to 20 minutes and see how they cope. It’s where the damage can be done.
Former England international Hinchcliffe says there is little to choose between the two teams, but reckons the Owls are in with a great shout of reaching the final.
He said: “There won’t be a lot in it. I will be surprised if there is more than a goal. It’s going to be very tight.
“I think Wednesday have got a fantastic chance of at least making the final. Wednesday didn’t play a full side against Wolves in preparation for these two games so will be fresh. They have everything to gain.”
*Sky Sports will show the entirety of this year’s Sky Bet Football League Play-offs as well as 126 Premier League and 127 Football League matches next season.