Opposition focus: Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday – What the Owls camp are saying
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Ipswich Town take on Sheffield Wednesday in their final home game of the 2016/17 season this afternoon. Here’s what’s been said in the Owls camp.
Manager Carlos Carvalhal believes the “winning mentality” of his Wednesday squad will stand them in good stead in the promotion shake-up.
The Owls are hitting top form at just the right time as they bid to end their 17-year top-flight exile. Carvalhal’s men are on an upward curve after recording five wins in a row for the first time in a decade.
Three points at Portman Road today would seal a top-six finish for the second year in a row.
“When we started training at the beginning of the season, we promoted competition inside the team to try to win,” said Carvalhal. “We don’t want players happy when they lose.
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“I think we have done really well in creating a winning mentality. We have a lot of players who have been promoted with teams before like Ross Wallace, Steven Fletcher, Gary Hooper, Fernando Forestieri and Daniel Pudil so they have this winning mentality.
“We must continue to do what we are doing with the same attitude and keep improving,”
• All the latest Sheffield Wednesday news at The Sheffield Star.Owls reporter Dominic Howson (Sheffield Star) said: “The prospect of Wednesday competing in the end-of-season play-offs looked in serious doubt a month ago. I wasn’t feeling too confident over the Owls’ chances after they dropped out of the top-six following their draw away to Barnsley. Their form was up-and-down and performances unconvincing.
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“Fast forward a month and Wednesday are on the verge of sealing a second successive top-six finish after an outstanding five-match winning streak. They have momentum in the final straight and are in a commanding position.
“Carlos Carvalhal’s tactical tweaks deserve acknowledgement. He played three recognised strikers against Rotherham United, deploying Gary Hooper in the number 10 position. His changes paid off and silenced some of his detractors. Carvalhal made the brave decision to drop Jordan Rhodes to the bench in the Owls’ memorable win over Newcastle United, pairing Hooper with Steven Fletcher up front. Hooper created havoc in the hour he was on the pitch and Fletcher headed in the decisive second goal. Daniel Pudil also come in from the cold and put in a man-of-the-match display.
“His three substitutions made the difference versus Neil Warnock’s obdurate, hard-working Cardiff City outfit. Messrs Rhodes, Fernando Forestieri and Atdhe Nuhiu swung the contest Wednesday’s way.
“He has managed his resources superbly in the run-in.”
Wednesday striker Steven Fletcher loves playing alongside Gary Hooper. The duo both netted in last weekend’s gritty come-from-behind 2-1 home win over Derby.
Fletcher said: “I love playing with Hoops. He is a great link-up player and a good finisher. “
“Hoops is a great lad. It is his presence about the place and on the pitch. He holds the ball up and is strong and you don’t actually know how strong he is until you stand next to him. He can knock big guys off the ball and it is good we have got him back. We are close friends and I think that does help on the pitch.”
He added: “We are playing good football. We like to put on a show as well as get the three points. We are all good technical players who like to pass and keep the ball. If we can do that and get the three points, it is always good for the fans.”