Clear week allows Sheffield Wednesday boss Tony Pulis to implement changes

Christmas or not, Sheffield Wednesday’s players are in for a tough week as manager Tony Pulis looks to “nail down” some principles in his first clear midweek to work with them.

CATCHING UP: Tony Pulis utilise the extra time he has with his players during this week's training sessions. Picture courtesy of SWFC/Steve Ellis.

Pulis is halfway through his sixth week in charge of the Owls, and the first where he has been able to have a few days for coaching.

When he arrived on November 13, he had six days to prepare for his opening match at Preston North End as well as settling in and trying to appoint backroom staff, but for the first few days key players Callum Paterson and Liam Palmer were on international duty.

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Since then it has been two games a week, every week.

In light of that workload, Pulis gave his players a couple of days off after their first win under him, against Coventry City on Saturday. Now the squad has a busy week at Middlewood Road to look forward to ahead of the Boxing Day trip to Blackburn Rovers.

“They’ll be in on Christmas Day,” said Pulis, who needed nine attempts to record his first victory, but has seen his team move off the bottom of the Championship table as a result. “I’ve got a bit of time to really nail down what I want and what is needed to the squad. I’ve not been able to do that and that’s no fault of the squad or anybody else.

“I’ve come in and the levels of fitness and work they’ve been doing really isn’t up to the levels I’m accustomed to as a coach and a manager. My teams have always been very, very fit teams so the demands of what we want from them, it’s been difficult to achieve at times, but we’ll get there.”

There is also a recruitment drive coming, though just what will be possible remains to be seen.

Wednesday need to pay the squad’s November wages in full, as they failed to do on time, to avoid a transfer embargo which would deny Pulis the new players he wants. Even if the payments are settled, it points to financial difficulties which might hamper those efforts.

Pulis is also yet to assemble the backroom staff he wants, having seen most of Garry Monk’s lieutenants leave with him. Craig Gardner and Mike Trusson were appointed quickly, but other vacancies remain unfilled.

“I’m still looking for one or two members of staff but my staff won’t win the games,” he said.

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