Wide man Ross Wallace is refusing to write off Sheffield Wednesday’s prospects of securing automatic promotion this season.
The Owls welcome Preston North End to Hillsborough this afternoon trailing Championship leaders Newcastle United by 12 points and Brighton and Hove Albion by 10.
But Wallace, hoping to retain his place in the starting line-up after two assured displays against Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers, told The Star: “Points wise the top-two is catchable.
“But I think we are just looking to get our performances right first, get comfortable with the way we are playing. The last two away games we have played some good stuff and defended as a team a lot better.
“We have been working on team shape, defending from the front, and maybe we came away from that for a few weeks and relied on our pure ability.
“In the second half at Wolves, they came at us, and we had Lucas [Joao] running channels, Fletch [Steven Fletcher] coming on and putting himself about. That’s what we have been working on.”
Today’s clash is the first of six fixtures in December, with three out of the Owls’ next four matches at home, and Wallace is targeting a healthy points return.
The Scot said: “Christmas is always a massive period. We want to come out of Christmas in a good position so we can attack the second half of the season. That’s the target for us.
“It won’t define our season because we’ve got the quality to come back if we didn’t get the points but we want to come out of it in a good position.”
Wednesday’s home form has been patchy, with Carvalhal’s team winning five out of their eight matches.
“The Ipswich game was disappointing, but apart from that I think we have been playing reasonably well at home,” stressed Wallace. “Our form has been pretty good.
“We have three home games coming up and need to take the positives out of our last two performances.”
Wallace says the team have gone back-to-basics in their attempts to get back to winning ways at S6.
He said: “We have started to dig in a bit deeper, defend first and then let the quality come in. Maybe we have been relying on our ability a bit more to get us through games.
“We have pulled it back to the bare bones, defend first and when it opens up again we can hurt teams.”