Owls close to full strength for season opener

Last updated : 04 August 2017 By Chris Morris

Sheffield Wednesday travel over the Pennines to face Preston on Saturday as the 2017-18 Championship season kicks off.

Having missed out on promotion via the play-offs in the last 2 seasons expectations are high among Wednesday fans and Carlos Carvalhal know that club owner Dejphon Chansiri fully expects the Owls to be challenging for the top positions again.

The Owls retained the vast majority of their first team during the summer and new wide midfield signing George Boyd is expected to make his competitive debut. Defender Glenn Loovens and midfielders Sam Hutchinson and Kieran Lee were slower to get up to speed during the pre-season schedule due to niggling injuries but all 3 are expected to be fit to feature if selected. Full-back Liam Palmer is the only player definitely ruled out due to injury and winger Marco Matias will miss out as he completes a 3-match suspension carried over from last season.

Preston start the new campaign with a new manager following the departure of Simon Grayson to Sunderland. North End will be led by former Norwich boss Alex Neill this season and he has one or two injury concerns ahead of kick-off.

Club captain Tom Clarke is ruled out by an Achilles injury but attacking players Paul Gallagher and Jordan Hug ill could both be fit in time having returned to training this week. New signings Declan Rudd, Darnell Fisher and former Manchester United striker Josh Harrop could all make their debuts.

Wednesday needed an injury time goal from Adam Reach to rescue a point in a 1-1 draw at Deepdale last season and they were beaten there the previous cmapign when Fernando Forestieri was sent off though they beaten Preston at Hillsborough in the past 2 seasons.