Storm clouds gather over Garry Monk as Sheffield Wednesday's miserable run goes on
The storm clouds are gathering over Owls manager Garry Monk after their alarming slump in form.
Monk is a man under increasing pressure after a dismal run of seven defeats from their last 10 Championship outings.
His position has come under more scrutiny after Saturday's heavy home defeat to mid-table Reading.
In the swirling wind and driving rain courtesy of Storm Dennis, Wednesday's season was blown further off course after goals from Yakou Meite, George Puscas and a late Sam Baldock penalty.
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Monk's beleaguered team have now taken five points from a possible 30 to slide from third to 12th since Christmas.
And if the English Football League hit them with a potential points deduction, a relegation battle beckons.
Thousands of Wednesdayites had already headed to the exit door by the time Baldock added a third.
It was another damp squib and emphasised the growing discord in and around the club. The Owls are slowly drowning in apathy caused by an under-performing squad, poor investment, high ticket prices and a lack of a clear plan.
Wednesday need a reset.
Yes, there will be an opportunity to have a big clear-out and reshape the playing roster in the summer. There is a host of senior stars entering the final months of their contracts.
But Monk is acutely aware only victories will keep him in a job and give him the chance to transform their fortunes.
"The world that we live in, I am experienced enough to know, you have to get results," he said. "I have to produce results and I haven’t been producing them in this last 10 game period.”
Yet again Monk tweaked their tactics and personnel against the Royals in search of a winning formula.
He switched from a three-man defence to a flat back four and made four changes to the starting XI, leaving out club captain Tom Lees, Barry Bannan, Josh Windass and Connor Wickham.
After a promising start, the home team's confidence and self belief gradually evaporated after Meite's 21st minute opener.
Monk admitted: "I have tried to change everything. Different things to cajole that reaction, that’s what you have to do, you can’t just let the cycle continue.
"If it’s not working, and you have given it a period, you have to try and do something else to get that reaction. It hasn’t worked, obviously.
"That’s my job, it’s not through a lack of trying, or pushing, to help them get that reaction."
Reading, without a win the league since New Year's Day, ruthlessly exploited the Owls' lack of confidence and mental fragility after Osaze Urhoghide's sending off just after the restart.
Andy Yiadom's cross-shot took a slight deflection off Puscas to deceive Cameron Dawson and Baldock compounded Wednesday's misery from 12 yards after a clumsy tackle by Dominic Iorfa on Andy Rinomhota.
"I understand that the results aren't good enough,” said Monk. “There's a lack of confidence and fragility about us so something needs to change."
Something needs to change quickly to lift the dark clouds at S6.