Sheffield Wednesday captain Glenn Loovens is confident the club are ready for promotion, as they prepare to take on Huddersfield in the Championship play-off semi-final.
The Owls face a trip to the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday, before the tie will be decided at Hillsborough on Wednesday to see who progresses to the final.
“We all know that Sheffield Wednesday is a big club, with massive support. There’s only one place that everyone wants to go and that’s the Premier League,” Loovens said.
Sheffield Wednesday came close to achieving this aim last season, but were narrowly beaten by Hull City in the play-off final.
Loovens is confident the team are ready to go one step further this time around.
He said: “The club is stronger than a year ago; the chairman has invested heavily in the squad and it has improved a lot. We have grown as a team and grown as a club as well. We are ready to go up now.”
Sheffield Wednesday finished the season strongly, winning six of their last seven games.
Their form is in stark contrast to Huddersfield, who lost six of their final 10 games. A run which saw them slide from third to fifth place.
The captain believes this will give Wednesday an edge going into the play-offs.
He said: “The momentum is with us because we have done so well lately. Everyone should feel confident going into these games.”
But the Dutch defender is still wary of the threat posed by a Huddersfield side which have defied expectations this season under David Wagner.
“Huddersfield are a team that have grown this season,” Loovens stressed.
“They like to play with the ball and can score goals. They’re a good team and that’s why they are where they are.”
Loovens sees the experience of last season’s play-off heartbreak as a positive, which will mean the squad is more mentally prepared this time around.
He added: “We have been there before so we know what to expect.
“Experience helps to calm us down and focus on the way we play. We’ve done it before and that should help us.
“Everyone was really disappointed last year and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“We have worked really hard the last couple of years to achieve this so we have to go all the way now.”
When the work of a season comes down to two matches, there will always be immense pressure. But Loovens is confident the squad will be able to cope.
He said: “Of course there’s pressure, that’s what comes with these sort of games. We all know what’s at stake.
“But we have to see it as a normal game. Prepare as we always do and don’t put extra pressure on ourselves.
“I’m the oldest player and I’m the captain so I need to help wherever I can for the players that haven’t experienced it before.”
The 33-year-old has played for Feyenoord, Celtic and has two appearances for the Netherlands. However, the importance of the play-offs is not lost on him.
“It is one of the biggest games you can play in terms of the commercial value for the club,” he said. “I would say it’s one of the biggest games I have ever played in.”