Megson pitches in to create home fortress

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Sheffield Wednesday fans can expect a more combative style of football next season with changes to the Hillsborough pitch.

Owls boss Gary Megson is almost certain to rein in the wide-open spaces of the playing surface to create a more intimidating atmosphere for visiting teams.

Together with an intense pre-season training programme, which Megson says will make his team the fittest in the league, the changes should lead to a quicker tempo.

Since taking over from Alan Irvine in February, Megson has been keen to drill into his players the advantage of playing in front of a partisan home crowd at a stadium as daunting as Hillsborough.

It took the former Owls midfielder nearly two months to record his first three points on home soil, and he even took his players high on to the Kop to allow them a fans’ eye view of the pitch.

In recent years it has been the opposition who have enjoyed their time in Sheffield 6 more than Wednesday.

The thought of an afternoon or evening at a ground, which is far better than their own, has proven inspirational to more than one supposedly inferior team.

And it is for that reason that Megson is reducing the amount of room available. No details are yet available about the size the pitch will be and the changes aren’t expected to be overly dramatic.

The pitch is currently stripped bare of turf as preparation work goes on for next season by the club’s ground staff. The Middlewood Road training venue’s pitches are also being relaid.

Meanwhile, The Star understands Jermaine Johnson is close to agreeing a new contract. The Jamaican international’s current deal expires on June 30 and a number of clubs are believed to be interested in his services. But, it is understood he will spurn their advances and stay at Wednesday.