Sheffield Wednesday: It is hard for Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal to select his matchday squad, says coach Lee Bullen

Carlos Carvalhal, left, and Lee Bullen
Carlos Carvalhal, left, and Lee Bullen

The hardest part of Carlos Carvalhal’s job right now is choosing his 18-man squad for every match, according to Wednesday coach Lee Bullen.

With the Owls’ injuries having cleared up in recent weeks, head coach Carvalhal is spoilt for choice in all departments.

Sam Winnall

Sam Winnall

The fight for a midfield starting berth is also expected to intensify before the end of the regular Championship season as David Jones and Sam Hutchinson are set to shortly return to action.

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Competition for places is so fierce at Hillsborough that Morgan Fox, Marco Matias and Sam Winnall, below, have not been included in any of the last three matchday squads.

Bullen said: “The biggest difference between this season and last season is the strength in character and belief within the group.

Atdhe Nuhiu

Atdhe Nuhiu

“No matter which 11 is out on the park, the players know they are backing each other up around the pitch. They are pushing each other on.

“I think the hardest decision for Carlos at the moment is deciding the 18, never mind the 11. It is tough to leave three or four guys out who are different class and working their tails off during the week in training.”

Carvalhal has an embarrassment of riches up front, with Winnall, Gary Hooper, Steven Fletcher, Fernando Forestieri, Jordan Rhodes and Atdhe Nuhiu, pictured right, competiting for two striking berths.

“It is so difficult to choose two strikers to start out of the six lads we have in the group,” admitted Bullen.

“They are six fantastic strikers.

“We have really good strength in depth and there’s nobody throwing their toys out of the pram. They are all working and pushing each other in training and that bore fruit against a really good Derby side who have fantastic individuals.”

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Wednesday ended their Derby County hoodoo last weekend, coming-from-behind to record a first victory over the Rams in 18 meetings.

The result came less than a week after the Owls claimed their first win at Queens Park Rangers since 2000.

Next up for Wednesday is a trip to Portman Road to take on 16th-placed Ipswich Town this Saturday.

The Tractor Boys are managed by Barnsley-born Mick McCarthy, who has not lost as a manager in his last 14 meetings with the Owls.

Bullen said: “The lads have shown so much strength and resilience to come back stronger this season. There have been a few games that we may not have gone on to win in the past, like against Cardiff and QPR.

“But we’ve broken down a few walls and hoodoos over the last few weeks.

“It’s the first time in 10 years we have won five in a row, it’s the first time since 2000 we’ve beaten QPR away from home, the first time in 17 games we’ve beaten Derby.

“We will see how it goes next week with Mick McCarthy.”

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