HEAD COACH Carlos Carvalhal has admitted he expected more from his summer signings at Sheffield Wednesday, but remains confident they will prove valuable additions at Hillsborough.
The Owls spent upwards of £10m on new players in the summer – including a £5m club record deal for Middlesbrough winger Adam Reach – as ambitious owner Dejphon Chansiri bankrolled the club’s promotion bid for the Premier League.
After going so close last season, when Wednesday lost at Wembley to Hull City in the play-offs final, the Owls strengthened with the arrival of Reach, Scotland striker Steven Fletcher and experienced Premier League midfield trio Almen Abdi, David Jones and Will Buckley.
But none of the new signings has yet shown their best form for Wednesday, for a variety of reasons.
Reach has been forced to cover at left-back on occasions, Fletcher has picked up a couple of unfortunate head injuries, while Carvalhal is still struggling to find the right balance in midfield.
“I don’t want to criticise but I expect a little more,” said Carvalhal.
“Some players probably have more expectations, but at the same time we have more expectations as well.
“We are giving time to them. We know the value of the players. I’m not disappointed with anybody.
“I still believe that we have very good players that can improve the team. It is more easy for some of them. For some it is more difficult.
“Some of them have had problems like Fletcher, who has unfortunately had a couple of head injuries.
“It is not a normal situation what happened and it put him out for a couple of games and of course they lose the link when they don’t play all the time.
“But we are in the first part of the season and it is a long season.
“I think that with more chances, and with the team in a better position, that the players we bring will do better and better in the future. That is my expectation.”
Wednesday travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow without top scorer Gary Hooper, who has been ruled out “for some time” with a hamstring injury.
The former Norwich City forward has netted five times for the Owls this season.
Fellow striker Fletcher also missed training earlier in the week, but returned yesterday and is in contention for Molineux, along with Portuguese international Lucas Joao.
“Gary Hooper will be out for some time with his injury,” said Carvalhal.
“He played very well last week (at Fulham), he is doing well and finding goals, but this is the life, he is not available to play; we have more players to play in attack.
“We like to have all the players and Gary is an important player.
“It is good that Lucas (Joao) is back again, he is more ready than last week.
“He’s had around two-and-a-half weeks of training.
“Fletcher was out during the week, but he is training again. (Almen) Abdi was ill, but we expect him training tomorrow and after that we will make decisions for the weekend,” he added.