Sheffield Wednesday: Palmer upbeat over Owls’ prospects

Carlos Carvalhal

Carlos Carvalhal

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Ex-Owls hero Carlton Palmer says he is “cautiously optimistic” his old club can mount another promotion challenge this season.

But with Newcastle United, Norwich City and Aston Villa having dropped down from the Premier League, Palmer has warned it will be difficult for Carlos Carvalhal’s side to go up automatically.

“It will be a tough ask for Wednesday to finish in the top two,” he told The Star. “People have got to be careful not to get carried away after last season and start talking about automatic promotion.

“There needs to be calm and not too much expectation. The Championship is an unpredictable and difficult league to get out of. Anybody can beat anybody.

“It takes a lot of money to get out of that division and there are some big clubs who have come down in Newcastle and Villa who have got the parachute payments.

“I would expect Newcastle and Villa to spend big and I’m sure Brighton and Derby will be there or thereabouts again as well.”

However, Palmer, who made 286 appearances for the Owls across two spells, reckons a play-off place is well within their capabilities.

“I’m cautiously optmistic that they can have another great season,” he said. “Wednesday had a fantastic home record last year so they just need to improve their away form a little bit to kick on.

“They have got some good players and played some great football last season but I still think they over-achieved in finishing sixth so you can’t knock them.

“It would be brilliant if they managed to get in the play-offs again.”

Wednesday face Villa, Norwich, newly-promoted Burton Albion, Yorkshire neighbours Leeds United and Brentford in the opening month of the new season.

Palmer, capped 18 times by England, said: “You need to get off to a good start at this level and hit the ground running.

“It is what Wednesday didn’t manage to do last year.

“Once you are playing catch up in the Championship, it is tough. If the team can get off to a good start, they can afford to have a bad run at some point.”