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Jos Luhukay asks the top-six question of Sheffield Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay
Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay

Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay is challenging his players to prove they are capable of mounting a play-off bid, starting at Aston Villa tomorrow.

The Owls dropped into the bottom half of the Championship after their midweek defeat at Nottingham Forest.

Luhukay's side will be bidding to get back on track when they face promotion hopefuls Villa, who reached the Play-Off Final last year, on Saturday, having collected just one point from two matches since the international break

Wednesday then round off a difficult run of fixtures with back-to-back home matches against Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion and a tough away assignment at Bristol City.

Luhukay, who will have to make one enforced change to his backline due to Jordan Thorniley's calf problem, said: "These games will give us answers on are we strong enough to play in the top six this season.

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"If we don't bring a lot of points back, then it is maybe true at this moment that we are not strong enough to play for the first six.

"When you win against Millwall, Ipswich Town and Reading, that is fantastic. But, with all the respect, they are not the top teams in the league. The top teams are coming up now.

"Leeds are number one. WBA are fourth. Aston Villa will, in a short time, will be in the top six."

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As Wednesday put the finishing touches to their preparations for the trip to Villa Park, Luhukay feels the team can draw inspiration from the way they played against some of the top sides from last season. He pointed to their "fantastic" displays versus Cardiff City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Villa.

"Hopefully we have learned about that and shown what is possible," he said. "We gave fantastic performances against the top teams last season.

"These games that we have (coming up) are against the top teams in the league.

"We must try to make very good performances. Hopefully we will make surprises.

"First, Aston Villa must have our focus and then we have two home games against the number one team and number four team in the league at the moment."

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