Sheffield Weds v Reading: Owls coach Carvalhal content with options in goal as injury rules out first-choice Westwood

CARLOS CARVALHAL remains fully confident in his back-up goalkeeping options at Sheffield Wednesday – after ruling out Keiren Westwood ahead of tonight’s clash with Reading.

Wednesday keeper Kieren Westwood.

Westwood, named by his peers in last year’s PFA Championship team of the year, will miss just his fourth league game since joining the Owls in the summer of 2014.

Doctors are assessing the injury sustained by the 30-year-old which forced him off in the second half of Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Ipswich Town, when he suffered a back injury following a challenge. Owls head coach Carvalhal is unsure of the full extent of Westwood’s injury or the possible length of any absence, but says he will not feature against the Royals.

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Teenager Joe Wildsmith, who replaced Westwood at Portman Road, is now favourite to take his place and be handed his first Championship start.

Other options for the Owls include back-up goalkeeper Lewis Price and academy stopper Cameron Dawson, who have yet to feature in the first team.

Carvalhal said: “He (Westwood) is out of the game, I am totally sure and must talk with the doctor about the problem. But we don’t feel that we have a problem. All of our four goalkeepers, I am very happy with. Westwood is a fantastic goalkeeper. But at the same time, Joe has done very good in all the matches he has played at this moment. Lewis Price is the same; we are very happy with him and Cameron is also a very good goalkeeper.

“We absolutely don’t have any problem about the position. We are confident.”

You have to go back to March 2014 for the last time that Wednesday recorded three successive home wins at S6, with Carvalhal anxious to find a lasting antidote to the homesickness that blighted the Owls last season.

The Owls have impressed in home victories in the league and cup over Bristol City and Mansfield Town, scoring six goals and conceding just once, with supporters clearly buying into the vibrant efforts of Carvalhal’s new-look side.

Carvalhal hopes to again feed off the positive energy of the Hillsborough crowd tonight and provide some choice entertainment in the process.

“The club had some problems last year of playing at home and we put that challenge to the team and the fans to turn over this kind of situation,” he said.

“I hope all the players can feel the power of the supporters; that is my expectation. When I am talking about the power of Hillsborough, I am talking about the fans bringing a positive energy to our team. The key will be the power of Hillsborough. I am sure that our supporters can make the difference.”

Following tonight’s game Wednesday will have just two full days to recover before taking on Leeds United on Saturday lunch-time – and are in the midst of a schedule of seven matches in the first three weeks of 2015-16.

But while the club’s diary is full, it is something Carvalhal is no stranger to as he has experienced similar situations on the continent.

“It is not new to me. I played a lot of matches at Sporting (Lisbon) and at Besiktas the same,” he said. “At Braga, we played in the Europa League and you usually play in the week after games in the championship.”

Last six games: Sheffield Wednesday DLDWWL; Reading LLWLWD.

Referee: P Tierney (Lancashire).

Last time: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Reading 0; September 20, 2014; Championship.