Sheffield Wednesday: International break will have been key as Owls head into another busy period
Drafted into the Hillsborough hotseat during the last international break, Garry Monk has been tasked with impressing his ideas on the Sheffield Wednesday squad in the midst of a crowded Saturday-Tuesday fixture list.
The former Birmingham boss has expressed the difficulty of the situation since his arrival six weeks ago, and leading into this international break spoke openly about the welcome opportunity to work on new things with the bulk of his squad at their Middlewood Road training ground.
Having experimented with variations on 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 formations along the way, Monk has kept his cards close to his chest as to his preferred long-term system, making clear that his first priority was to shore up the Owls defence.
Wednesday have a reasonable scoring record in the Championship this season with 16 goals in their 11 games, but scored seven of those across two games. Six Wednesday matches this season have been decided by a single goal.
Speaking ahead of the break, Monk praised the positive attitude of his players and said that the focus would shift to how they can be more effective offensively.
“There are a few offensive things that we can add to what we’re doing straight away,” Monk said, “and there are a couple of defensive things that they need to brush up on and be ready for.
“There’ll be a mixture of that and recovery, but we’ll be working hard, don’t worry about that.”
The Owls boss has had a near-full squad to work with. Only Liam Palmer (Scotland) and Atdhe Nuhiu (Kosovo) have been away on international duty with Australian Massimo Luongo having pulled out of a trip down under with a knock to his knee.
A buzzword in Monk’s short tenure so far has been ‘clarity’ and Luongo confirmed the manager had been crystal in the delivery of how he wants his players to go about their business.
The 27-year-old said: “I have enjoyed it. He gets his point across the way he wants to play and how he wants to approach games.
“If he changes the formation, there is a reason why. You know your role and everything is clear and I think that is important.”