Sheffield Wednesday: Veteran defender poised to make Owls comeback
Dutch defender Glenn Loovens could make his long-awaited Owls comeback at Derby County tomorrow.
Loovens, Wednesday’s club captain, has not featured since sustaining a hip injury in the home draw with Queens Park Rangers over two months ago.
But under pressure head coach Carlos Carvalhal has dropped a big hint that the 34-year-old is ready for first-team duty again.
He said: “Glenn is a very important player, a very good captain and we need him involved in training every day because he pushes the others a lot.
“He was almost near to full fitness in the last game (Bolton) but we didn’t pick him as the team played so well against Leeds.
“He is more ready for this game than last week. I believe he will be involved in the 18.”
Loovens, who may start at the expense of Joost van Aken, will be aiming to help Wednesday tighten up at the back. Carvalhal’s men have recorded just two clean sheets in 12 attempts this season.
Carvalhal said: “I don’t think it (the defence) is the biggest problem. It is a collective process.
“When we were losing in the last game, we took risks to try and win the game. We opened spaces and it looked like we are weak in the defensive part.
“When we play compact and are very solid like a team, teams find it very difficult to score goals against us.
“It is not just the defensive line. It is a collective process where everybody must know exactly what they must do. I believe we must improve in the collective process.”
Keiren Westwood (rib) is also back in training and expected to replace Joe Wildsmith in goal.
But Jordan Rhodes could miss the trip to Pride Park after spraining his ankle in Saturday’s woeful defeat against struggling Bolton Wanderers. The striker was taken off on a stretcher at the Macron Stadium and left the ground on crutches and wearing a protective boot on his left ankle.
“It looked very serious in the game, but after when he had an X-ray and an scan, it was not so serious,” said Carvalhal.
“Definitively, it is not something that will put him out for a long time. We don’t know at this moment if he can recover for Saturday. But if he doesn’t recover, it will be the next game. It is not so serious.”
While Rhodes is set to make a speedy recovery, George Boyd has suffered an injury setback. The winger, signed on a free transfer last summer, has undergone a second shoulder operation after the first failed to fix the problem.
“After the (first) surgery, George had an examination and not everything was ok with his shoulder. He had more surgery in the last two weeks and he has come back again to recover. Now we must wait.
“He has another examination and now he must recover.
“It will be long weeks.”