Sheffield Wednesday count cost of in-form Gary Hooper as Huddersfield Town welcome back Elias Kachunga

RIVAL head coaches Carlos Carvalhal and David Wagner insist that Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town will be fully ready for their Championship play-off semi-final '“ despite both suffering potential selection blows ahead of Sunday's first leg.

Out: Gary Hooper of Sheffield Wednesday

The Owls are set to be without Gary Hooper – outstanding during their sequence of six wins last month that secured play-off participation for the second successive season – for the double-header with Town, due to a hamstring injury.

His absence would represent an untimely setback for Wednesday, who have not given up hope of him being fit for the final, should they progress to the May 29 showpiece at Wembley.

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Meanwhile, Town must make do without first-choice goalkeeper Danny Ward this weekend, with the club electing not to appeal against the red card he received against Cardiff City on Sunday after reviewing video evidence.

IN? Elias Kachunga for Huddersfield Town

The Liverpool loanee was sent off for a handball offence outside the area 20 minutes into the game against the Bluebirds, with second-choice Joel Coleman set to deputise on Sunday as Ward serves a one-match suspension.

Better news is that 13-goal top-scorer Elias Kachunga is likely to return for the home tie against the Owls, with the German striker having sat out Town’s last four games with a calf problem.

For Wednesday, the anticipated absence of Hooper – hugely impressive alongside Steven Fletcher during April – is mitigated by the presence of several alternatives, including Jordan Rhodes, Fernando Forestieri and Sam Winnall.

Hooper suffered a fresh hamstring problem in training last week and has travelled to Spain for specialist treatment.

IN? Elias Kachunga for Huddersfield Town

Carvalhal rested nine other first-team regulars in Sunday’s last game of the regular season at home to Fulham, while Kieran Lee – the starting survivor from the side that beat Ipswich Town the previous weekend – got another hour under his belt to continue his path back to full match fitness after hip surgery.

Carvalhal said: “He (Lee) played because he did not play for a long time and he is improving game by game. Kieran did absolutely amazing, but after 60 minutes, we thought it was better to protect him because we need him for the play-offs. We will be ready for these important games.”

Confirming that Kachunga will be in contention for Sunday, Town head coach Wagner added: “I am pleased we are playing on a Sunday; Kachunga has a day more and will probably be back.”