Sheffield Wednesday chief seeks defensive cover ahead of derby

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY head coach Carlos Carvalhal is looking to strengthen at the back after having his first-choice central defensive pairing of Glenn Loovens and Tom Lees ruled out of the 3-1 Championship defeat at Burton Albion.

Carlos Carvalhal, the Owls chief, had Tom Lees sidelined by a foot problem at Burton.

Two players figure on the radar, former Owls defender Vincent Sasso and Preston’s Huddersfield Town product Tom Clarke, who is also wanted by Blackburn.

The 25-year-old Sasso, not a regular starter at Braga in the Primeira Liga, was on loan at Hillsborough last season, playing 19 times.

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Carvalhal, who saw Jose Semedo hobble off at the Pirelli Stadium, hopes to have a signing in place before Saturday’s visit of Leeds United. He said: “Congratulations to Burton. They caused us a lot of problems but we didn’t play with our full defensive line complete.

“We expected Tom Lees (foot problem) to recover but he felt pain and couldn’t play. We had to readapt our defensive line when Semedo came off and we didn’t stay as strong as we do normally. We tried to play our usual game but we couldn’t play as we can do.

“We expected to win three points and we didn’t get what we wanted but the good thing is we have another game on Saturday when we will do our best to try and win.”

Striker Fernando Forestieri, who refused to play in Wednesday’s goalless draw against Norwich last weekend amid speculation linking him with a move but who later issued a formal apology, replaced Almen Abdi, said to be a “little tired”, for the second half at Burton.

Former Blades chief Nigel Clough was a very proud manager as he reflected on Burton’s first victory at Championship level.

Gary Hooper equalised from the penalty spot just five minutes after Kyle McFadzean’s seventh-minute opener but Jackson Irvine restored Burton’s lead on the stroke of half-time and Lloyd Dyer wrapped up the points with 13 minutes remaining.

Clough said: “It was thoroughly deserved. We deserved to win on Saturday and perhaps at Forest so it’s been coming for the last 10 days. It’s come against probably the best side we have played so far.

“From the first minute we set about the task in the right way, created chances all throughout the game and deserved the victory.”