Vitoria de Setubal will forever hold a place in Carlos Carvalhal’s footballing heart.
The Wednesday boss has managed the Portuguese club on two separate occasions in his career. He led Vitoria to promotion to the top-flight in the 2003/04 season before leaving to join Belenenses.
Carvalhal, a centre-back during his playing days, returned to Vitoria three years later and guided them to a sixth-placed finish in the Primeira Liga, ensuring the club qualified for the UEFA Cup.
To cap off a memorable campaign, Vitoria lifted the Portuguese League Cup, causing a big upset in the final by defeating Sporting Lisbon.
“I enjoyed my time there,” acknowledged Carvalhal. “They were two seasons to remember.”
On Saturday night Carvalhal takes his Owls side to Albufeira to go head-to-head with Vitoria in the final pre-season friendly of the Championship outfit’s six-day training camp in the Algarve.
Carvalhal told The Star: “It will be a nice to play against Vitoria.
“It is a club with big charisma.
“The fans love the club and have a big passion for the team.
“It is a great club and I still follow their results closely because I have an emotional connection with them.”
Wednesday remain unbeaten in pre-season, recording three wins from their four warm-up matches.
Carvalhal’s side kicked off their matches in Portugal on a positive note, seeing off Portimonense thanks to a spectacular strike by Adam Reach. But the Owls were held to a draw by Farense on Thursday, with Jorginho’s late free-kick cancelling out Steven Fletcher’s 78th minute opener.
Carvalhal expects Vitoria to provide them with stern opposition as he continues to fine-tune his team in preparation for the new season, which gets underway in a fortnight’s time.
He said: “Vitoria will be a different game compared to the Portimonense and Farense matches.
“Portimonense are an organised team and gave us a lot of problems which we solved.
“We played well against Farense and gave the boys some more minutes.
“Portimonense and Farense are two teams who play very solid on defence and don’t take too many risks.
“They ar Carlos ready for emotional Vitoria reunion e very good on the counter attack but Vitoria are different.
“They have more quality so it will be an interesting game.”