QPR face a difficult test as they travel to Hillsborough to take on Sheffield Wednesday.
Being one of the toughest away days in the league, I decided to catch up with our own Sports Content Editor and Owls fanatic Matt Harris to talk us through what the Hoops can expect from Carlos Carvalhal's side.
Overview of transfer business
Wednesday business this summer can be easily summed up in one word. Frustrating.
George Boyd has joined on free transfer from Burnley, a very good signing considering he made 36 appearances in the Premier League last season and the Clarets had offered him a new deal.
But aside from making Jordan Rhodes’ loan move permanent, something that was agreed when the deal was done with Middlesbrough in January that’s it.
Carlos Carvalhal stated what we as fans all knew, that the club needed two new centre halves, but as of yet they have not arrived, despite the manager saying he and his team have looked at 200.
Former Arsenal defender Johan Djourou was set to sign at the weekend on free transfer, after being released by Hamburg. However, after passing a medical and agreeing terms, the deal fell through and Djourou signed for Turkish side Antalyaspor on Monday.
Carvalhal said after signing his new deal at the start of the summer, that four or five players were needed. So far we have one, and desperately need at least one centre half.
Fans also feel the squad is short of pace and I would agree. Something different, a flying, tricky winger is needed along with a strong, pacey, dominant man for the middle.
Results so far
Wednesday went unbeaten in pre-season until the final match when we lost 2-0 at home to Rangers in a less then thrilling performance.
It was hoped we had got that out of the way before the season started but what happened at Preston last Saturday was truly awful.
We were outplayed, out-thought, outfought and dominated and should have lost by more than 1-0. The result was made worse by the fact we didn’t register a single shot on target and created three half chances at best.
An improvement was drastically needed and Wednesday put in an impressive, attacking display against Chesterfield in the League Cup on Tuesday, winning 4-1.
Six changes were made to give those who didn’t feature at Preston some game time, and there appeared to be a slight tweak in formation with Wednesday moving from 4-4-2 to a diamond in midfield.
This seemed to free Barry Bannan’s shackles and he dominated the match, scoring an absolute belter of goal for the third. If you haven’t see it it’s worth a watch.
Gary Hooper and Steven Fletcher both scored and the display will have given Carlos lots to think about for Saturday.
For me the best keeper in the division by a country mile and every time the window opens I live in fear that he will leave us. I have lost count of the times he has kept us in games with a stunning save or two.
The best player at the club and capable of producing something from nothing. Fessi had a difficult time last season, what with refusing to go Norwich and a subsequent loss of form, followed by a return to form quickly ended by a three-match ban, and then missing the closing stages of the season with a knee injury, though he returned for the play-offs. Yet despite all this he still finished top scorer.
Some haven’t forgiven him for refusing to play, but I have, we all make mistakes, and I’d rather be on my team than playing against us.
Missed almost half of last season with a hamstring injury, but when he returned for the run in he was key to Wednesday putting six wins on the bounce together and making the play-offs.
Hooper is known for being a goal scorer but when he returned to the side, it seemed as though he had added to his game. Now he had added build-up play and linking midfield and attack to his locker. He missed the play-offs through injury and his absence was noticeable.
Under Carvalhal Wednesday have operated in a 4-4-2 with the wide players tucking into the middle and the width provided by the full-backs.
This worked great in his first season as we shocked and swashbuckled our way to the play-off final, but last season we changed approach. We went from a free-flowing attacking side to one that ground out results, creating little, not scoring as many goals, but keeping it tight at the back.
This season it is hoped Carvalhal marries to the styles together.
Perhaps we may see the diamond, used so successfully in midweek, on Saturday with more crosses, also witnessed on Tuesday night, supplying the lethal striker force.
Given the impact it had on Tuesday I wonder whether Carlos will stick with the diamond formation and mean Forestieri plays in the middle rather than on the left, where he and the manager feel he is not at his best.
Liam Palmer and Kieran Lee are the only players who will be completely unavailable. Almen Abdi, who is being nursed through a knee injury, made an encouraging comeback on Tuesday night and played 69 minutes. I wouldn’t expect him to start on Saturday but he may be on the bench.
Predicted team: Westwood, Hunt, Reach, Lees, Loovens, Jones, Boyd, Bannan, Forestieri, Hooper, Rhodes
I hate making predictions as Wednesday almost always do the opposite but I’ll go 2-0.
Hillsborough has been a fortress for us under Carvalhal, though admittedly it weakened slightly last season. The opening day defeat at Preston was awful and much was made of the needed for not only a win against Chesterfield in the cup, but also a positive attacking performance, which we got.
I can see Wednesday taking that display and building on it in front of the first home league crowd of the season and I don’t think QPR have enough about them to win in Sheffield 6.