Sheffield Wednesday: Owls can cope without injured Gary Hooper, insists Carlos Carvalhal

Gary Hooper

Gary Hooper

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Head coach Carlos Carvalhal is confident the Owls’ forward line will continue to thrive in the absence of the injured Gary Hooper.

Wednesday, who host Preston North End on Saturday, could be without Hooper’s services for the rest of 2016 due to the hamstring problem he sustained in their recent draw at Fulham.

Hooper’s knock was the last thing the Owls needed following a poor sequence of results but Lucas Joao admirably filled the void in Saturday’s deserved victory away to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

It is likely Joao will get the nod to partner Fernando Forestieri, who has bagged two goals in his last two outings, again this weekend when they take on mid-table Preston.

carvalhal told The Star: “I will not talk about Gary in the next few weeks because I don’t want to make excuses. I’m here to find solutions and not create problems which is why I won’t be talking about it.”

The Portuguese chief feels Wednesday have been unlucky with injuries in the attacking department.

“The reality is there was a period where we were without Lucas, [Steven] Fletcher and Marco [Matias],” he said. “It was a difficult period for us and also in terms of managing the bench.

“We always look to our bench to create an impact on the game.”

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Despite their impressive performance and result at Molineux, Carvalhal is refusing to get carried away. Victory saw the Owls move to within a point of the play-off zone but Carvalhal is adamant the team are not the finished article.

He said: “You never saw me under pressure when we were in 20th place this season and at the same time I was never euphoric when we were in the top-six, fifth or fourth.

“We are still working, me and my staff are all the time the same; looking to what we can improve.

“We are still working. We have to look at what we can improve.

“The defensive transition was good at Wolves but we must improve the first pass when we go to the attack and the offensive organisation.

“We are improving the team and trying to do better. When we do this we believe we can win more games.”

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