GEORGE BOYD, a largely forgotten figure at Sheffield Wednesday under Carlos Carvalhal, insists all that matters on the Portuguese’s return to Hillsborough this weekend is taking another step towards Wembley.
The Owls host Swansea City, rejuvenated in the Premier League under Carvalhal, with a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals at stake.
Against the old boss on the TV, it doesn’t get any better. It is exciting.George Boyd
Much will be made of Wednesday’s first non-British manager being back in the Steel City just 55 days after leaving in the wake of a horrible slump in form.
For Boyd, however, such talk will be a mere sideshow to what really matters. “He has done really well, hasn’t he?” said the 32-year-old about Carvalhal, whose seven games in charge of the Swans have yielded 14 points.
“I am surprised they are doing so well. But he has turned them around. They will be in high spirits and confident with their recent results but we are doing well in the Cup as well.”
Boyd moved to Hillsborough from Burnley last summer but made just four appearances under Carvalhal before undergoing shoulder surgery in September.
In the wake of Jos Luhukay taking charge in January, the Chatham-born midfielder, who was fit before Christmas but not selected, publicly suggested the Owls had not been fit enough and welcomed the increased intensity of training under Luhukay.
Asked ahead of Saturday’s Cup reunion if getting the better of Carvalhal would make reaching the quarter-finals even more satisfying, Boyd replied: “Just the win matters and getting into the next round.”
Boyd, of course, has FA Cup pedigree. When at Hull City, he featured in both the semi-final and final in 2014 as Steve Bruce’s men beat Sheffield United before being edged out in a five-goal thriller by Arsenal.
“This is a great opportunity for us,” he said about the fifth-round draw. “It doesn’t matter if they are Premier League, we will fancy ourselves against anyone at home.
“Against the old boss on the TV, it doesn’t get any better. It is exciting. We are two (games) away from Wembley and this is a great competition to go far in. As I found at Hull, the Cup can help in the league, too.”
Wednesday warmed up for tackling their old manager with a welcome 2-0 victory over Derby County in midweek.
A hugely improved performance was capped by two goals from Lucas Joao, as Luhukay’s first league win at the sixth attempt stretched the gap between the Owls and the relegation zone to nine points.
“I thought Lucas was brilliant,” added Boyd, who impressed in the unfamiliar role of wing back. “And Jordan (Rhodes), too. He won’t get a lot of credit but he worked really hard.”
“Lucas is a nightmare in training, you can’t get the ball off him with his big legs and his unbelievable feet.
“The only surprise I have had since I have come here is that he has not played more. Especially under Carlos. He is a quality player and showing that at the minute.”
As for the Owls and his hopes of enjoying an extended Cup run to rival that of Hull four years ago, Boyd added: “We expected to get promoted this year but it has not worked out that way.
“A Cup run will rejuvenate the crowd.
“The fans were brilliant (against Derby). Hopefully, they come out in their numbers on Saturday and, hopefully, we can get to Wembley.”