'Fuel to my fire', Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk on negativity, Lee Tomlin and not facing abuse at Cardiff City
It’ll be a strange afternoon for Garry Monk, stepping into the Cardiff City stadium without facing a tirade of unprintable abuse.
Sheffield Wednesday make the trip to South Wales tomorrow hoping to get their Championship season off to a good start and begin chipping away at their 12-point deficit straight away.
And Swansea City legend Monk, who made over 250 appearances over 10 years for the Bluebirds’ bitter rivals before serving as their manager, admitted it will be different lining up in a Cardiff technical area to the politeness of empty stands.
“It’ll be the first time, won’t it?,” he laughed. “Those things have never bothered me, it’s part of the pantomime of football which can be great at times.
“You need that, negativity is just fuel to my fire. I love that and want more of it, it’s what drives me.
“Negativity, comments, chants, whatever it may be, people writing about you that don’t know you, whatever it is, that’s the fuel to the fire, to keep proving that point.”
Monk never lost against Cardiff as a player, winning two and drawing two, but since winning his first two matches against them as a manager when in charge of Leeds, the Owls’ 1-1 draw back in October is the only point he has taken in five.
“Everyone knows the history with them," he said. “It’s a great history, a great rivalry, but it’s not about that now. It’s about these players and Sheffield Wednesday, going down there and getting the points that we need.”
The home side will be without attacking threat Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who was released from his contract for a reported breach of contract earlier this week.
It looked likely they would also be without midfield pair Joe Ralls and Lee Tomlin, although yesterday Bluebirds boss Neil Harris said he hoped both would make a return to fitness.
Tomlin has been a particular thorn in the side of Wednesday over the years, scoring three times and producing two assists in their last five meetings. His 87th-minute equaliser back in October should have been disallowed for offside.
Asked whether his omission would be seen as a bonus, Monk said: “I don’t really care about any of that. I can’t control any of that, I just care about my team and working as hard as I can with my team as they’re working as hard as they can to be ready.
“We’re going to have really good moments, we’re going to have difficult moments, but we’re going to stick together, we’re going to fight.
“My job is to work to where we’ve got a team that is fully committed every single week for that shirt, that the fanbase can be proud of whether they’re in the stands or back at home watching.
“I don’t concentrate too much on what the opposition are doing, we all get that information when the teamsheets come in, who is playing, who isn’t playing and what that means for them, but that’s not our concentration in the build-up, our concentration is what’s right.
“We prepare for the best Cardiff team and their best players.”