Boss Carlos Carvalhal has warned his Owls players to beware of an aerial bombardment when they take on mid-table Cardiff City today.
The Welsh club, managed by lifelong Sheffield United fan Neil Warnock, travel to South Yorkshire aiming to dent Wednesday’s promotion dream.
When the two clubs last met nearly six months ago in Warnock’s second match in charge of the Bluebirds, it finished all square after full-back Daniel Pudil cancelled out Peter Whittingham’s exquisite free-kick.
Carvalhal told The Star: “We know Cardiff are strong at corners, free-kicks and throw-ins. We have played against them before so we know what to expect.
“We played well at Cardiff earlier this season.
“We know how they play and what we must do.
“We have analysed them and will be ready for all situations.”
Wednesday skipper Glenn Loovens echoed Carvalhal’s sentiments.
“We know what Cardiff are about,” he said. “They’re quite physical and in your face team so we have to expect a battle.
“We have to make sure we cope with that.”
Defensively Wednesday have looked susceptible to set pieces in recent times but Carvalhal insists he is not overly concerned.
“Changing a lot of players doesn’t help too much the consistency that we need but we did well against Newcastle,” said the Portuguese head coach, who will be without the services of Sam Hutchinson (calf) again. “It’s not just us who have conceded from set plays.
“Some teams are more strong than others from set plays.
“We scored from a set play in the last game and it is something we are still trying to improve. We have good headers of the ball, not just for defending, but also to attack.”
Today’s encounter marks the 100th match of Carvalhal’s Owls reign. He led the club to the brink of promotion last campaign and Wednesday currently occupy the final Championship play-off place with five matches remaining.
Carvalhal said: “I’m very proud, not just about 100 games, but we have changed completely the philosophy of the club. I talk to my friends in Portugal and they know how we play.
“We know what football we want to play. It is not easy to achieve but we have achieved the philosophy very fast.
“The main point of last season was the change of style. I know fans pay for a ticket and want a good style of football.
“Sometimes we haven’t played good and that is the reality. Nobody plays very good football in two seasons in all the games.
“We play very positive football and I think this is the best achievement of the club. We change our philosophy and people recognise the way we play. The majority of the Sheffield Wednesday fans like the way we play, especially when we win.”
Wednesday hope Loovens will be passed fit to play. The Dutchman, who played 100 matches for Cardiff, was taken off at half-time in Saturday’s win over Newcastle United due to an old groin injury.
Loovens joined in training for the first time this week yesterday and faces a late fitness test. Vincent Sasso is on standby.
Loovens said: “I had some good times at Cardiff. It is a great club.
“It was quite a similar situation to Sheffield Wednesday. The team were struggling and fighting for relegation and in a couple of years they built up a really good team fighting for promotion.
“I really had a great time over there. I wish them all the best, only not Friday!”
Carvalhal’s men are full of confidence after arguably producing their best display of the season versus Premier League-bound Newcastle.
Loovens said: “Everyone enjoyed the game and we played some good stuff. We should have maybe scored in the first half but we fully deserved the victory.
“Newcastle tried to play football and that opened up space for us to play and in those games I always feel we play our best stuff.
“Playing a team near the top also gave us extra movitation and it was a great performance.”