Everything new we learned from Garry Monk's first press conference of the new Sheffield Wednesday season

Garry Monk spoke to the media yesterday in preparation of the Sheffield Wednesday roadshow kicking back into gear this weekend with a Carabao Cup trip down the road to Walsall.

Friday, 4th September 2020, 6:00 am
Garry Monk spoke to the media ahead of Sheffield Wednesday's season opener at Walsall.

The Owls boss was in fine spirits while discussing all manner of matters ahead of the clash, which will kick-off at 2:15pm on Saturday.

The Star’s Sheffield Wednesday writing team of Joe Crann and Alex Miller were on the call firing questions alongside the rest of the virtually-assembled media.

But what were the highlights, what did we learn and what were the key talking points ahead of the Walsall trip?

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Let’s run through them..

Injuries

Wednesday are two down in the defensive department but aside from that are at full, unbridled strength heading into their trip to the Midlands.

Youngster Osaze Urhoghide will miss the clash with an ongoing knee injury while Chey Dunkley is still clawing his way back to fitness having arrived in the final stages of his recovery from a leg break back in February.

“Osaze is making good progress, he should be joining back in with the training very soon,” Monk said.

“With Chey, we knew when he came in that he would be a little while behind the others. But he’s making strong progress and we’re looking for him to be up for selection very soon… Otherwise we’ve got a fully fit squad.”

Social media

“Good advertising is a dialogue with people,” said Lee Clow, a big-wig in the world of selling and one of the first blokes that comes up when you Google ‘quotes about advertising’. Apparently.

Wednesday’s media team has been working overtime in recent weeks, releasing videos showcasing the lighter side to the club’s players and offering fans a glimpse of their personalities. It’s been great stuff and stands to improve relationships between supporters and the club.

And Monk was part of that conversation.

“I sat with Trevor [Braithwait, the club's director of communications] and the media team and we talked about opening ourselves up and letting the fans see the real us,” he said. “It has not really been done very much here before.

“I spoke to the guys there and they were very keen for it to happen.

“We need to bring the fans with us, whether they are in the stadium or not. We need them behind us. We need that unity.”

Never say never – but no real way back for Westy

Keiren Westwood may be back training with the club’s under-23s, but that doesn’t represent any sign that a comeback trail towards the first team has been rolled out to him.

Monk said that while he would “Never say never”, it was clear he was pressing forward with the younger duo of Cammy Dawson and Joe Wildsmith. Nothing new on that front.

Something of a line drawn before the start of the season, then. But it seems that as it stands Westwood will be at Wednesday for the foreseeable, with Monk confirming that no approach has been made for the former Republic of Ireland keeper as of yet.

Windass and Kachunga good – but more needed

“It helps they have that versatility but I have brought them in to be attackers,” Monk said on the midweek double-swoop of Elias Kachunga and Josh Windass. “That’s their primary position.”

Brought in, as suspected, as strikers then.

Both can play elsewhere of course – Windass as an attacking midfield player, Kachunga out wide – but they go straight in alongside Jordan Rhodes as options up top.

“It’s an area of the pitch that we know we need to strengthen,” he said. “It's a short pre-season and we start our first cup game in a few days time and then we are into the first league game.

“As a manager, you always want everything done as early as possible but it’s not always as simple as that. There are other things that go on that can delay that.”

Additions

Two in in one afternoon, Wednesdayites could be forgiven for getting greedy. But Monk reiterated the fact that while the Owls are considering reinforcements all over the squad, nothing is particularly close to completion. What a buzzkill.

“There’s nothing at the moment,” he said. “Everyone is working hard behind the scenes but it’s not easy. When you are working in the market that we are, there is a lot of competition. When there is a lot of competition, it becomes a lot more expensive.

“We are working behind the scenes to try and identify players that we feel can help the group that we already have and that is an ongoing process.”

There’ll be more in, you expect, but not for a wee while. The transfer window closes on October 5.

And finally.. letters

An interesting one, this.

Monk revealed that he gave individual letters to each of his returning players after the last game of the season last time out.

Each letter gave directions that the Owls boss wanted each player to take leading into pre-season. Sometimes it’s the personal touch that makes all the difference.

We’ve heard bits and pieces on a meeting players and staff held on the very first day back from the break. It seems, led by Monk, they’ve tackled this whole thing head-on.

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