Sheffield Wednesday: Carlos tips Owls to rise to challenge

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Boss Carlos Carvalhal believes his Sheffield Wednesday side will relish the occasion when they face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Championship play-off semi-finals.

After narrowly missing out on automatic promotion, the Seagulls will travel to Hillsborough for the first leg of the tie on Friday.

Carlos Carvalhal

Carlos Carvalhal

Although he insists his team will be rank outsiders to reach Wembley, Carvalhal is confident his players will put in a strong display on home soil.

Carvalhal said: “Brighton is the next game and challenge. When we have played against strong teams in the past, we have given strong answers most of the time. Like when we played Arsenal and Newcastle in the Capital One Cup and Cardiff in the league.

“We have given strong signs. We will be ready.”

He stood by his decision to rest a host of first-team regulars in Saturday’s defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Keiren Westwood, Tom Lees, Kieran Lee and leading scorer Fernando Forestieri all sat out the final clash of the regular league campaign.

Captain Glenn Loovens, Gary Hooper, Barry Bannan, Jack Hunt and Alex Lopez were named on the substitutes bench as Wednesday suffered their fourth defeat on the spin at Molineux.

Lucas Joao was the sole survivor from the team who comfortably beat Cardiff, with Carvalhal handing run-outs to some of his fringe players, including Michael Turner, Vincent Sasso, Lewis McGugan, Jose Semedo and Marco Matias.

“I must protect the players as we have a very intense week ahead that will end with Brighton,” he said.

“We finished the Wolves game more fresh than our opponents, physically and emotionally, even with players who are not used to playing 90 minutes.

“We needed to give these players an opportunity because now they will be more ready if we need them in the play-offs.”

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