CARLOS CARVALHAL believes that Sheffield Wednesday’s glamour Capital One Cup date with Arsenal is a deserved reward for chairman Dejphon Chansiri who has pumped in millions of pounds since purchasing the club in March.
The Thai seafood magnate bought former chairman Milan Mandaric’s majority shareholding for £37.5m and subsequently embarked on a summer spending spree of around £9m on the likes of Fernando Forestieri, Lucas Joao, Marco Matias and Lewis McGugan.
In total, Chansiri gave head coach Carvalhal the green light to bring in 15 players in an attempt to transform the Owls’ fortunes.
The opening third of the 2015-16 campaign has suggested that the club can have an impact at the business end of the Championship table come the Spring.
Wednesday head into tonight’s fourth-round encounter in fine fettle on the back of an eight-match unbeaten run, which has incorporated a memorable cup win at Newcastle United.
Tonight’s televised tie – a repeat of the 1993 League Cup final – has captured the imagination of Wednesdayites, with the hosts set to be roared on by a gate of around 35,000, the highest Hillsborough attendance since 38,082 saw the Owls clinch promotion back to the Championship in May 2012.
The arrival of Arsenal, who last visited Hillsborough in January 2000, offers a tantalising re-wind to a time when big nights were commonplace at S6.
Chansiri, upon taking over, quickly declared a wish to see Wednesday back in the Premier League by 2017, the club’s 150th anniversary.
That might be some way down the road yet, but Carvalhal is delighted that Chansiri and the club will be afforded some welcome nationwide exposure tonight.
He said: “I am very happy for the chairman and he deserves this game at this moment. He is doing everything for the club.
“We got a good (national) audience against Newcastle and now to have a full stadium is fantastic for the club and chairman.
“We are in football to enjoy these kind of moments. In football, you want to create this environment and expectations and people to live the reality.”
That sense of realism is also reflected in Carvalhal’s belief that the in-form Owls still possess only a 10 per cent chance of causing an upset against the Gunners, on a stellar run of form and behind Premier League leaders Manchester City only on goal difference.
Carvalhal does possess pedigree as a giant-slayer in cup competitions back in his native Portugal, having become the first man to take a third-tier side – Leixoes – into Europe after finishing runner-up in the Portuguese Cup in 2002.
But he believes that Wednesday must be at the top of their game and hope Arsenal have an off-day if they are to book their place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 2001-02.
Carvalhal, without the ineligible Forestieri tonight – with Michael Turner, Matias and Modou Sougou also missing – said: “It will be a fantastic day for Sheffield Wednesday because people will remember the past. We hope that it can be the norm in the future.
“We are playing a very strong team, one of the best teams in the world. They are joint top of the table and in the last six games they have scored 18 goals and played against Bayern Munich and Manchester United.
“They have played a lot of big teams and scoring three goals per game, so I think it is normal that they are completely favourites.
“I believe that probably we have a 10 per cent chance. But 10 per cent is 10 per cent. It is not zero.”
Teenager Joe Wildsmith, 19, will line up in goal in place of the rested Kieren Westwood, while Sam Hutchinson and Glenn Loovens will be assessed.
Meanwhile, one player expected to line up for the Owls in midfield, Jose Semedo, has called on the hosts to draw inspiration from the cup exploits of fellow Yorkshire side Bradford City, whose remarkable run to the final of the Capital One Cup included a giant-killing penalty shoot-out win over Arsenal in December 2012.
Semedo said: “Upsets can happen. I remember Bradford beating Arsenal at their ground and Aston Villa and they were special nights.
“I always watched Bradford because my ex-manager (Phil Parkinson) is there and I had a good relationship with him.
“I remember clearly those games and this is a game like it, where it is possible (for Wednesday to win).”
Last six games: Sheffield Wednesday WWWDDW; Arsenal WLWWWW.
Referee: G Scott (Oxon).
Last time: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Arsenal 1; January 3, 2000; Premier League.
Tigers prepare to tackle Foxes in League Cup: Page 18.