The big change to the Hillsborough pitch Garry Monk hopes can improve Sheffield Wednesday’s home record
Millwall may well notice a difference to the pitch at Hillsborough when they arrive for their Championship clash on Saturday.
On the instructions of Owls manager Garry Monk, the pitch has been reduced in width by around four metres this season, a quirk many supporters have noticed while watching recent matches on iFollow.
Pitch diameters have to be submitted to the EFL prior to the start of the season, meaning Wednesday played on a much larger pitch last season. Monk, who arrived six matches into the campaign, was unable to change it to his preferred specifications.
And asked about the move in the build-up to their home clash with Millwall on Saturday, the Owls boss said that while it’s not a huge change, it is something he likes to do in an attempt to turn things in his side’s favour when playing at home.
Speaking to The Star, he said: “I remembered my time coming to Hillsborough as a player and as a manager, it’s such a famous stadium and such a historic place, the feeling can sometimes be to look at it and think ‘this is great, I want to play on this, I want to perform here.’
“I want my teams to play aggressively and Hillsborough is a huge pitch, it can be great in one way, but can be a negative in another.
“It was to make it a little bit more so that we feel that contact and work in smaller distances where we can be more aggressive.”
The four-metre difference is an example of the attention to detail and marginal gains that Monk has been famed for during his time at the club.
“It doesn’t give you a huge advantage,” he said. “But it was to give the thought to the players that we can work more aggressively, we can feel closer to one another and hopefully get that little bit sharper with it.
“It’s only the widths and it’s not too much, but it’s something I’ve done at every club I’ve been at.
“It’s a little thing we can do to try and suit us, to try and suit what we’re doing as much as possible and get used to that.”