Sheffield Wednesday: Focused Garry Monk issues stark warning to Owls stars ahead of Hull City showdown

As Garry Monk is always keen to stress in his media interviews, he is at the start of what he hopes will prove to be a long and very successful journey with Sheffield Wednesday.

Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 12:36 pm
Owls boss Garry Monk

Yet there is no arguing the fact Monk has made a big impact since taking over the Owls reins from caretaker boss Lee Bullen, picking up seven points from three Championship outings.

'Garry, Garry Monk' chanted the 2,800 plus travelling Wednesdayites in the first half of their emphatic 4-1 win at his former club Middlesbrough last weekend. Victory moved the Owls up to seventh and to within three points of leaders West Bromwich Albion.

But Monk, now in his fifth management job at this level, is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

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The Wednesday boss told The Star: "I am pleased to be winning games and taking points.

"The job is to make sure this team are competitive in each and every game and be in a position to take points.

"We won't always be at our best but there will be days like Middlesbrough when we are devastating and quite near the standard of where I want us to get to.

"I am very pleased with the players and how we have started but the Championship can bite you if you are not focused.

"It is very early days still. We are focusing on the next game."

Next up is a clash with Yorkshire neighbours Hull City at the KCOM Stadium. The Tigers, managed by former Doncaster Rovers chief Grant McCann, currently occupy 16th spot after a mixed start to the season.

But Hull enter the derby on the back of a four-match unbeaten run and have in winger Kamil Grosicki a man at the peak of his powers.

Adam Reach is congratulated by his Owls team-mates after scoring in the Middlesbrough win

Monk said: "Hull will be difficult but if we show the same mentality, quality and focus on the game plan then we will give ourselves the best chance.

"Hull have got a very good squad. Forget the league placings at this moment in time. It means nothing.

"They have got quality and have managed to keep their best players in [Jarrod] Bowen, [Kamil] Grosicki and others. They are a dangerous team.

"The demand and standard is to push and back up the Middlesbrough result.

Happy Owls Manager Garry Monk with Atdhe Nuhiu after their win over Middlesbrough

"It will not always happen for us but we are trying to raise the standard of the players and their mentality to do that and fight for it."

The Owls have bad memories from their last trip to Hull back in January. They put in a dismal performance and were thumped 3-0 after a double from Bowen and a strike by Fraizer Campbell.

Midfield ace Barry Bannan said: "We are lot better now. We are a lot stronger so hopefully we can go and turn around it.

"They are a good team and can hurt you but it is the same as any away game in this league; no team is just going to lie down to you, roll over and just give you the victory.

"We need to be bang at it like we were against Middlesbrough and start as strong as we did at Middlesbrough and hopefully we can get a good result. We will go into the game with confidence and we will enjoy it."

The burning question is can Wednesday replicate the level of performance they produced in the first half at the Riverside?

"He [Monk] will want the same as Middlesbrough every week but it won't always happen," stated Bannan. "We will take great confidence after scoring four.

"When you are winning games, you can't wait to get back out there. You don't really want to train. You just want to play games.

"Every team is tough in this league and they (Hull) have got tricky wingers. I don't think they have started off too badly so it is going to be a tough game.

"We will go there quietly confident and we know that (Middlesbrough) is the standard we have set and we can't fall below them because we have showed what we can do. It is trying to keep the standards."

What the Owls can take plenty of encouragement and confidence from is their recent results on the road. Monk's side will be looking to make it four away wins on the spin for the first time since 2011 when they go toe-to-toe with Hull.

Monk said: "It is the foundation phase. Normally you get to put that in a six-week period in pre-season and you can lay those foundations but I have not got that luxury.

"I am working on a quicker time frame but I am trying not to overbear the players. It is simple stuff. Before we can move on to something else, I have to get that right.

"It is a lot of the defensive roles and structure along with some of the offensive stuff that we have worked on but it is not everything.

"It takes time. I can't just rush through it. I need to trust that we can do it well enough to get results and then grow that as the weeks and months go on."

There is still a long way to go, but the early signs are that Monk has Wednesday moving in the right direction.