Dom Howson’s Sheffield Wednesday column: Three Christmas presents for Carlos Carvalhal

Carlos Carvalhal, left, and Dejphon Chansiri
Carlos Carvalhal, left, and Dejphon Chansiri

’Tis the season to be jolly.

And Wednesday’s campaign is shaping up to be another cracker.

There’s still the odd grumble at S6, but the Owls occupy the final play-off berth heading into their mouth-watering Boxing Day clash at Championship leaders Newcastle United.

Things are looking fairly rosy and here are five presents Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal will be hoping to find underneath his Christmas tree:

1) A competitive transfer budget for the January sales

Carvalhal plans evolution not revolution when the transfer window reopens next month.

He said: “We are not planning to move a lot in January. Like all the teams, our eyes are open in the market and we will see what we can do but don’t expect a revolution because we don’t need it.

“We have our players and trust in them.

“If we can improve the team, we will do.”

Expect the Owls to be prudent with their transfer business as they have Financial Fair Play (FFP) to consider. Unlike Newcastle, Norwich City and Aston Villa, the club don’t have the luxury of parachute payments.

“If we go to the market in January, we will be with limitations,” said Carvalhal. “What you want is one thing. What you can achieve is another.”

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2) A fit and firing forward line

Barring Atdhe Nuhiu, all of Carvalhal’s strikers have had spells on the sidelines due to injuries or suspensions which has made lift difficult for the team.

Fernando Forestieri will return to action at Newcastle and Gary Hooper is edging closer to full fitness following a hamstring problem.

A lack of goals at the business end of the field has been a source of huge frustration for Wednesday. While the strikers are not solely to blame for the side’s wayward finishing, Forestieri, Hooper and Steven Fletcher will be disappointed they have only mustered 17 goals between them at nearly the halfway point. Nuhiu and Lucas Joao are still waiting for their first league goals.

Will Carvalhal keep faith with his misfiring forwards or will he decide to strengthen that department? Middlesbrough duo Jordan Rhodes and David Nugent are on the Owls’ radar.

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3) Mojo for the summer signings

“I’m happy with the players we bring in; maybe I expect a little more from one or two,” insists Carvalhal. Fletcher, Adam Reach and David Jones have shown glimpses of what they are capable of but Carvalhal will be looking for greater consistency from the likes of Reach, Daniel Pudil and Almen Abdi in the second half of the season.

Wednesday were made to work hard for wins over Barnsley and Rotherham United so will be looking to rediscover their passing fluency and dynamism in the final third over the festive programme.

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