Dom Howson column: Opportunity knocks for Carlos to increase hero status

Carlos Carvalhal
Carlos Carvalhal

What a big next five days this is for the Owls.

Two matches, both on TV, with one against a side they are expected to beat and the other versus, arguably, the best passing team in the country. You have to go back many, many years for the last time Wednesday were on the box twice in quick succession, let alone three times in 11 days.

The eyes of the nation will be passing judgement on Carlos Carvalhal’s side and we will really see what his multi-cultural squad is truly made of during this period.

Any sides harbouring serious promotion aspirations should, with the greatest respect to Rotherham, be going to one of the smaller teams in the division and winning. It won’t be a straight forward task but the Millers are under new management and have only won twice this season. Top sides go to clubs lying in the relegation zone, do a professional job and come away with a positive result.

As long as Wednesday, who are likely to revert to the side who held Hull City last weekend, earn the right to play their stylish, entertaining brand of football, their superior quality should ultimately come to the fore.

Then comes the biggest cup tie Wednesday have been involved in this century. Playing Arsenal under the lights at Hillsborough, in front of 35,000 fans, promises to be a special occasion.

Unsurprisingly, the Arsenal tie has captured the imagination of the Sheffield public. Most fans will be turning up more in hope than expectation that the Owls can pull off an upset. If the Gunners rest a number of their top stars and underestimate the hosts, you never know. Much stranger things have happened.

Carvalhal was a surprise choice to succeed Stuart Gray, but the Portuguese has won over the hearts and minds of the Owls much so that they have immortalised him in song with ‘Carlos had a dream’. Few fans are complaining now about his squad rotation policy after their impressive showing at Queens Park Rangers. Like at Newcastle United, he made multiple changes and yet they still more than held their own in the capital.

Two more good performances and results will only increase Carvalhal’s hero status and raise the supporters belief that they are a club on the way back.