Sheffield Wednesday: Owls boss lays down gauntlet to full-back

Liam Palmer

Liam Palmer

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Boss Carlos Carvalhal has challenged Liam Palmer to win his place back in the Owls’ starting line-up.

Despite picking up the man of the match award in Wednesday’s Hillsborough draw with Derby County and following that up with another solid display at Cardiff City, Palmer has been left out of the last two match-day squads.

Like many players in Carvalhal’s squad, Palmer has been forced to adapt to the Portuguese chief’s squad rotation policy this season. He has made just six Championship starts, with Carvalhal preferring, in the main, Jack Hunt at right-back.

Carvalhal told The Star: “We have two very good players in that position. Jack is probably more offensive but Liam is a good, balanced player.

“Liam is doing well but all the players can improve. It is our job to improve the players and the team.”

Hunt admits he initially found it difficult getting used to Carvalhal’s preference for rotation.

He said: “It was tough to take earlier in the season. A lot of people are not used to foreign managers and in England you are not going to get too many who rotate.

“It is something new, but I think everyone has got used to it now that the manager has been here some time. Whether me or Liam plays now, we want each other to do well for the team. That’s the most important thing and not personal performance. Everyone is really supporting each other in training and when we play because everyone is going to get a game.”

Carvalhal is poised to freshen up his squad as Wednesday look to pick up a healthy points return from the busy Christmas schedule. They host Birmingham City before travelling to Middlesbrough on Monday.

“I enjoy Boxing Day games but, for me as a player, the worst time is after you have played a game with the second day recovery,” conceded Hunt, who is expected to remain at Wednesday until the end of the campaign. “Your body is in bits and you have to play on the 28th and that’s when you feel at your worst. I don’t enjoy the quick turnaround there.

“Three days would be fine, but two is very tough to take on the body.”

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