Sheffield Wednesday expect tough test against Espanyol as they round off their pre-season programme

Sheffield Wednesday face a "heck of a challenge" when they entertain Spanish outfit Espanyol in their final warm-up match this weekend.

By Dom Howson
Friday, 26th July 2019, 2:43 pm
Updated Friday, 26th July 2019, 4:37 pm
Sheffield Wednesday caretaker manager Lee Bullen
Sheffield Wednesday caretaker manager Lee Bullen

That is the view of caretaker Owls boss Lee Bullen as the Championship club prepare for their only pre-season outing on home soil.

Espanyol finished seventh in La Liga last season after a run of just two defeats in their last 16 league matches, including an eye-catching 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid in May.

They will arrive at S6 on Sunday in good heart, having thrashed Icelandic club Stjarnan 4-0 in the first leg of their Europa League second qualifying round on Thursday evening. Facundo Ferreyra and Borja Iglesias bagged a brace each to all but seal Espanyol's place in the next round of the competition.

Bullen told The Star: "We expect a really tough test and we wouldn't want it any other way. Espanyol are a top team so it's a heck of a challenge. We fully expect to be stretched in ways we haven't been so far.

"We want to see how the lads stand up to the test. It will be up to them to adapt and handle things. There will be questions asked of the players and we will see if they can find the answers.

"It will be a great test for them and it is a good match for the supporters to come along and watch top European opposition."

The former Owls captain is backing the team to rise to the challenge.

"I really think our lads will give a good account of themselves," said Bullen. "They did it against Benfica a couple of years ago and did okay against Villarreal last season.

"But even if we beat them, we are not going to get ahead of ourselves. Our feet will be planted firmly on the ground.

"If we lose the game, we are not going to be too disappointed either.

"It is ultimately about getting through the game without any injuries and continuing to prepare properly for the first game of the season at Reading next week."

Bullen is expected to take charge of the friendly as Wednesday have yet to appoint a successor to Steve Bruce, who left his role as manager at Hillsborough to take charge of Newcastle United last week.

He said: "Given the adversity of the coach leaving the club, the players have shown great professionalism and togetherness. They have been really great and shown a good attitude in training.

"There is a really good mood around the place and they have reacted well to what we have asked them to do."