VIDEO: Sheffield Wednesday - Key duo set for Owls returns

Two vocal, inspirational figures are poised to make their Wednesday comebacks at Turf Moor.

In recent weeks, goalkeeper Keiren Westwood and captain Glenn Loovens have been sorely missed.

Westwood has sat-out the last four fixtures due to a bruised kidney while Loovens suffered an ankle problem in the Owls’ fortuitous draw at home to Reading last month.

In their absence, Wednesday have won just once, beating Oxford United in the Capital One Cup.

It remains uncertain whether Westwood will start against Burnley tomorrow, having picked up an injury in training yesterday. Should he be declared unavailable, Lewis Price will remain in between the sticks.

Head coach Carlos Carvalhal told The Star: “It’s good they are back. They are two special players. They have leadership in the dressing room and on the pitch. They are very important.

“Glenn [Loovens] gives us experience. He and Keiren [Westwood] are like new signings.”

Although Loovens is the club captain, the Portuguese offered no guarantees that the Dutchman will be reinstated at centre-half.

“Glenn is the captain but I’m not saying he will play,” said Carvalhal. “We have competition at centre-back and I am very happy with all of them.

“Keiren was the best player last season. He is important.

Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal

Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal

“I’m happy they have recovered but I am happy to receive the new players who will improve the quality.”

Westwood recently committed his future to Wednesday, signing a contract extension which will keep him at Hillsborough until 2018.

Carvalhal said: “It’s good news. We have been talking with Keiren for some time.

“It’s good when the player has stability. I know he’s very happy at the club. I know he likes Sheffield Wednesday and we like him. It means he can focus on playing after extending his contract.”

He hopes Westwood will hit top form following an injury-hit start to the season.

“Keiren has had his problems so I’m waiting to see the real Westwood,” said Carvalhal. “Hopefully that will be as soon as possible.”

Carvalhal has spoken of his delight at adding Barry Bannan to their ranks. The little midfielder is in contention to make his first Owls appearance this weekend.

Carvalhal believes Bannan will give extra quality to his forward line.

“He is an exciting player,” said Carvalhal. “He likes the ball and wants it all the time.

“He has got a good left foot, is experienced and has a lot of energy. I’m sure our fans will love him.”

He is also pleased Wednesday have secured the services of Michael Turner and Daniel Pudil, claiming the duo will “add security” to his backline.

Carvalhal is looking forward to having a selection dilemma against Burnley.

“I have decisions to make but it’s good to have them,” he said. “All the players must fight for their positions.”

With the Owls’ injury problems having cleared up, Carvalhal has acknowledged the time has come for them to start producing in the league.

He stated: “I have never used excuses. We would have liked to have started the season with this squad but we understand the market. It is not easy in the Championship. We know the club have done their best (in the transfer market) and have tried to improve the team day by day.

“No coach in the world will say they are completely happy because all the time we can do better.

“But I am pleased with the squad we have and the dynamic we have but I think we can do better. If you ask Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger, they will say the same.”

The two-week international break has benefited Wednesday, according to Carvalhal.

He said: “We have recovered and rested some players. The break gave us time to get to know the new players better and it has helped them understand how we play.

“It has given us time to change how we play because we have received different players who have different abilities.

Speaking to the press corps yesterday, Carvalhal said Wednesday’s training sessions have been “fantastic” since their disappointing home loss to Middlesbrough.

“The players understand the level of the training is completely different now,” he said. “We have raised the standard in training and if you talk with the players, they will tell you the same.

“We have trained very hard this week. I am scared a little bit and realise we must break the tempo because sometimes, with these transformations, the players give a little more and then feel a little tired if they have done too much.”

Burnley, relegated from the Premier League last season, will be chasing a third successive victory when they entertain Wednesday.

“They [Burnley] are a good team and have kept most of their squad together,” said Carvalhal. “They are organised and very strong at set pieces. We are ready for their dynamic but we believe they have weak points. All teams have weak points.”

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