Carlos Carvalhal, the Sheffield Wednesday boss, is adamant Stoke City are favourites to progress to the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup ahead of tomorrow’s clash at the Britannia Stadium.
The Owls will be seeking to take another Premier League scalp, having already knocked Newcastle United and Arsenal out of the tournament.
Although Wednesday have tasted defeat just once in their last 14 outings, Carvalhal insists they will be underdogs at Stoke.
Speaking his pre-match press briefing this afternoon, Carvalhal said: “We know when we play against teams in the Premier League that they are the favourites.
“Stoke have a fantastic team and a very good coach. They are playing at home, are very strong, have a lot of players in the national team and have better conditions than us. They have more qualities than weak points.
“It will be a very hard for match for us. We have a small percentage of doing something and will try to do our best.
“We promise that we will fight, run and try to play good football. We want the fans who are following us to be proud of us at the end of the game.”
The Owls, who will be cheered on by over 4,500 fans, will be without several senior players. Keiren Westwood will be rested, with Carvalhal confirming he plans to start academy starlet Joe Wildsmith in goal.
Michael Turner, Vicent Sasso, Barry Bannan, Sergiu Bus and Marco Matias are ruled out due to injuries while Fernando Forestieri is cup-tied.
“We are missing seven players but we are confident the guys who will come in will do their best and give a good answer,” stressed Carvalhal. “We won’t risk players who are not 100 per cent. We don’t want to play a player and risk losing him for five to six weeks.
“We have a good squad and are using all the players.
“We will approach this game like we would any other. It was exactly the same when we prepared to face Oxford. We will try to find their weak points so we can create damage.”
Bannan has missed the last two fixtures because of a knee problem he sustained in their defeat at Charlton Athletic.
“He is better, but not fit yet and he is in no condition to play like Turner,” said Carvalhal. “We expect them possibly for the next game (Derby), but you never know because of the nature of the player.”