Wednesday have suffered a big injury blow ahead of their Championship play-off campaign with Gary Hooper unlikely to be involved in the club’s semi-final duel with Huddersfield Town.
The Star understands the influential striker picked up a fresh hamstring injury in training last week and can confirm he has flown out to Spain to receive specialist treatment.
Wednesday, beaten 2-1 by Fulham in the final match of the regular league season yesterday, have not given up hope that Hooper will be fit for the showpiece final should Carlos Carvalhal’s charges see off the Terriers over two legs.
It is the second time Hooper has sustained a hamstring problem this season. He was kept out for over four months after picking up a knock in the reverse fixture with Fulham.
Hooper returned to action against Rotherham United last month and sparked an Owls revival. He dovetailed effectively with Steven Fletcher up front and scored a crucial goal in Wednesday’s hard-fought victory over Derby County.
Hooper’s setback gives Carvalhal plenty to ponder heading into the end-of-season showpiece.
Wednesday will face the Terriers away from home in the semi-final first leg on Sunday, kick-off 12pm. The second leg will be staged at Hillsborough on Wednesday, May 17.
Carvalhal, who rotated his squad on Sunday, leaving out the likes of Keiren Westwood, Tom Lees, Glenn Loovens, Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri, said: “The count is now zero. Now everything starts from zero.
“It will be very hard to beat Huddersfield. They are a good team.
“They have proved that over the season. They deserve to be in the play-offs because they have quality. They are not an easy team to play against but neither are we.
“It will be a balanced game. Huddersfield play good football, but so do all the teams in the play-offs. Each team has a 25 per cent chance.”