Liam Palmer wants his Wednesday teammates to keep their emotions in check when they go to promotion rivals Leeds United.
Nearly 35,000 tickets have been snapped up for tomorrow’s televised lunchtime clash in West Yorkshire as the Owls target their first win at Elland Road since 2007.
And Palmer, vying with Jack Hunt for the right-back spot, is urging Wednesday to show they can handle the pressure amid the white-hot derby cauldron.
“We have to keep our cool and not let the occasion get to us too much,” he told The Star. “The gaffer always mentions about having a cold head but a warm heart.
“We have to have that drive, determination and be focused on getting the job done.”
For the long-serving defender, a trip to Leeds is the ideal fixture for the Owls following their disappointing midweek Hillsborough loss to Brentford.
He said: “It is the perfect game to get Brentford out of our system.
“The beauty of football is there is always another game to right the wrongs and there’s no better game than a derby to do so especially with the position of the two teams in the league.”
Both clubs are tied on 58 points in the Championship, having played 33 matches each. Had Wednesday beaten Brentford, Carlos Carvalhal’s side would have moved above Leeds and Reading into fourth position.
Payback is on the mind of Palmer, with Leeds having prevailed in the last meeting between the two clubs in August after second half goals by Marcus Antonsson and Chris Wood.
“What happened at Hillsborough will give us an added incentive to put things right,” he admitted. “That will be in the back of our minds.
“It is a big game and we know it will be fast paced. We just need to match them.
“Hopefully we can carry on from where we left off in the second half against Brentford and come out of the traps quickly.”
Wednesday only had themselves to blame after suffering their first home loss in over three months. Carvalhal conceded they were “slow and predictable” in the opening 45 minutes, with Brentford establishing a two-goal lead.
The Owls were much-improved after the restart, particularly following Callum McManaman’s introduction, but ultimately had just a late Fernando Forestieri strike to show for their efforts.
Palmer said: “We showed good character to keep on fighting but we let ourselves down in the first half and we need to start better.
“We have to try and start faster, get on the front foot and get at teams a lot quicker than we showed against Brentford. We have done it previously.
“But even at 2-0 down at half time, we had the belief that we could turn it around and we showed that in the second half and that’s the sign of a good group.
“Their goalkeeper had a magnificent game. He made five or six top class saves and on another night we could have pulled that deficit back.”
Palmer couldn’t hide his frustration over Wednesday’s defending from set pieces for Brentford’s two goals.
“It was disappointing as we work on them every week, both attacking and defending,” he said. “Usually we are quite strong in that area.
“They were two quality balls into the box but we didn’t deal with them.
“The set pieces knocked the wind out of our sails and it put us on the back foot.
“We needed half-time to regroup and go again and that’s we did. It was a good response but we needed to get the goal back a little bit earlier than what we did.”
Although it was not the result he or the team wanted, Palmer was delighted to get the nod in the full-back position.
Palmer said: “It was nice to be back playing the other night but I was very disappointed we didn’t get the win and keep our good run going.
“We have been on a fantastic run and everyone has been playing well so there is not much you can say or do when you’re not in the side.
“It is a long old season so we have to stick together and work hard for each other. I just want to help the team as much as I can.”