Carlos Carvalhal claims there will be no room for sentiment when Sheffield Wednesday take on his hometown club Sporting Clube de Braga in a pre-season friendly.
The Owls, who travelled to the Algarve to begin their five-day warm weather training camp yesterday, face Primeira Liga side Braga at the Estadio da Nora, Ferreiras, Albufeira, tomorrow night.
Carvalhal represented Braga during his playing days and went on to manage back in 2006, although his reign in charge lasted just 13 matches.
While the Portuguese admits he will always have a soft spot for Braga, he is relishing the opportunity to pit his wits against them.
“Of course, I have good memories of my time at Braga,” he told The Star. “I was born in Braga and when I played for them, I was captain of the team.
“The club have progressed a lot in the last 10 years. Now they have a new stadium and have started to build the academy.
“When I was in charge of Besiktas three years ago, we won 2-0 away at Braga in the Europa League. But times move on and I now work for Sheffield Wednesday. My focus is on helping this club and I hope we win.”
Carvalhal expects Braga to test Wednesday’s defensive organisation. The affable Portuguese has warned his squad that there will be times when they will have to soak up a lot of pressure as he is banking on Braga retaining possession effectively.
“It will be a very hard game,” he said. “Braga are one of the biggest clubs in Portugal and have good players.
“I prefer these matches against teams who are, in theory, stronger than us.
“They will cause us problems defensively and we will see our gaps and we will try to correct them. After the game, we will see what we need to work on.”
Although Carvalhal hopes the Owls get on a roll and win mose of their warm-up matches, he accepts his team are a work in progress and wants to turn their weaknesses into strengths.
He stressed: “The scoreline is the not the most important thing.
“We want to create a winning team but we must correct our mistakes.”
Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood will be pushing for a start, having shrugged off a shoulder problem. Along with Lewis Price, Westwood, the Owls’ number one, is likely to get a run-out in some capacity.
Right-back Jack Hunt and striker Stevie May are set to return to action after recovering from thigh problems. The duo were left-out of Saturday’s draw at York City as a precautionary measure.
“We have gone to Portugal with all our players in good conditions,” insisted Carvalhal.