Sheffield Wednesday warm-up’s new look

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SHEFFIELD Wednesday will break with tradition for the final stage of their build-up towards the new season.

They will have no game on the last Saturday before their league campaign kicks off on August 18.

The newly announced friendly at Kilmarnock on Wednesday, August 8, will be their final warm-up match before the competitive fixtures begin.

The change has been caused by the Capital One Cup first round, which will be played in midweek before the League opener.

The Kilmarnock match is also a testimonial, for midfielder James Fowler, but Owls boss Dave Jones dismissed any suggestion that his team’s build-up could lack a competitive edge, as they also will play West Brom, Doncaster and Reading, and look set to face Sporting Lisbon.

Jones admitted: “I normally have the final friendly a week before the first League game, but this year it’s different, because the cup tie will be the last game before the start of the league.”

He feels that the warm-up programme will still be demanding: “We’ll have a test against West Brom; Doncaster will be a test, so will Reading.

“When we play Kilmarnock, the Scottish season will have started and they will be fit. When you go to Scotland the teams take it very seriously when they play English teams.”

The Sporting date has yet to be officially announced but the club where Jose Semedo started his career are being pencilled in as the other team to face the Owls during their stay in Portugal from July 18 to 25, with Reading confirmed.

Wednesday play both Sheffield FC and Stocksbridge on July 17, Doncaster away on July 28 and West Brom at home on August 4.

Jones has denied claims that he is interested in Republic of Ireland defender Darren O’Dea, who is out of contract at Celtic.