Owls ‘can cope’ during Hutchinson ban

Alex Lopez could make his return to the Owls side against Huddersfield this weekend
Alex Lopez could make his return to the Owls side against Huddersfield this weekend

Carlos Carvalhal is confident Sheffield Wednesday possess the strength in depth to fill the void left by Sam Hutchinson as he begins a two-match ban.

Hutchinson collected his tenth caution of the season in the first half of the defeat at Charlton Athletic before the two-week international break, meaning he will miss their matches against Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers.

Despite his poor disciplinary record, he has played a vital role in the Owls marching up the Championship table.

His industry and ability to disrupt opponents rhythm will be sorely missed but Carvalhal insists Wednesday are capable of thriving without one of their top performers.

“I want to have all my players ready to play,” Carvalhal told The Star. “But when we don’t have one player, we will play with another.

“I’m sure whoever comes in for Sam will play well.”

Wednesday are not short of options in midfield. Alex Lopez is closing in on a first-team return, having shrugged off a thigh problem.

The Spaniard has not featured since coming on as a substitute in the victory over Preston North End last month.

There is a possibility Carvalhal could turn to Lewis McGugan to fill the midfield vacancy. McGugan has netted three times in eight appearances but has struggled to hold down a regular starting spot.

But the leading candidate to deputise for Hutchinson is Jose Semedo. Carvalhal is acutely aware of the importance of having the right balance in the centre and Semedo is the closest like-for-like replacement for Hutchinson on Wednesday’s books.

Carvalhal added: “It is frustrating for Sam that he can’t play but we have options in the team to cover the position.”

The Owls head coach may be forced into a further midfield change on Saturday if Barry Bannan fails to shake off a knee injury.

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