Sheffield Wednesday: Owls all set for Alfreton opener

Sergiu BusSergiu Bus
Sergiu Bus
Sheffield Wednesday will aim to kick off their pre-season campaign with a win when they travel to non league Alfreton Town tomorrow night, kick-off 7:30pm.

It is the second year on the spin Wednesday face the National League North side in a warm-up match.

In 2015, the Owls were held to a 1-1 draw at the Impact Arena. Romanian striker Sergiu Bus opened the scoring three minutes after the interval but Niall Heaton’s 72nd minute strike ensured it finished all square.

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Just like last year, boss Carlos Carvalhal is set to mix up his side. He regards friendlies as a useful chance to experiment with his personnel and formation.

Against Alfreton, the Portuguese chief made nine changes at half-time and gave some of the club’s youngsters an opportunity to shine, including Ryan Croasdale and Ryan Meadows.

The final scoreline isn’t the most important thing to Carvalhal. For him, he is more bothered about the players taking on board his ideas.

Prior to the Alfreton test 12 months ago, Carvalhal said: “It is important to see our position in respect to what we are trying to do on the training ground. We can check with offensive organisation if they are doing and understanding what we want in the game. And it is the same with defensive organisation and transitioning between those. It is about seeing if they are receiving the message.”

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Summer signing Steven Fletcher is in contention to make his Wednesday debut, having taken part in their first week of pre-season training.

The only senior player who is unlikely to feature is goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, who has been given extra time off after being in the Republic of Ireland’s European Championships squad this summer.

Tickets for the Alfreton fixture are priced at £10 for adults and £5 concessions.

After Alfreton, the Owls head to Chesterfield on Saturday, July 16.

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Their marquee friendly takes place on Wednesday, July 20 when they welcome Portuguese champions Benfica to Hillsborough. Carvalhal’s men will then jet out to Faro the next day for some warm-weather training.

While in Portugal, the Owls will face CD Nacional on Sunday July 24 in their penultimate warm-up match.

After returning to these shores on Tuesday, July 26, Wednesday conclude their pre-season programme with a home test against Port Vale.