Garry Monk promises changes to halt Sheffield Wednesday’s decline

Owls boss Garry Monk. Pic Steve Ellis
Owls boss Garry Monk. Pic Steve Ellis
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FROM the outside looking in Garry Monk always felt that a change of culture was needed at Sheffield Wednesday.

Following a difficult run of form in the Championship since Christmas, the 40-year-old feels his assessment before his appointment in September has been proved right.

The Owls sat third in the table just over a month ago but one solitary win in their last six league outings – the other five resulting in defeats – means they have slid to 11th spot and are five points from the top six.

Monk offered a scathing assessment of his players’ display after Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Wigan Athletic and admitted that it is a “big, big job” to change the culture at Hillsborough.

“It has been too comfortable. Looking from the outside in over the last couple of years and then coming in, I think it’s been too comfortable,” he said.

“The need to win and the need to be successful and the desire to do that has not been here.

“I said it at the start that it is a big, big job to change that. We will keep fighting and I’ll make sure that the ones who I believe can will be there.”

The Owls have been bolstered by the arrival of Parma forward Alessio Da Cruz on a loan deal until the end of the season.

The 23-year-old spent the first half of the campaign on loan at Serie B side Ascoli, contributing six goals and six assists in 18 appearances.

Monk has been in search of a replacement striker since Steven Fletcher was stretchered off in the 55th minute in their FA Cup third round win against Brighton and Hove Albion.

And Wednesday are keen to bring in another forward before tomorrow’s deadline.

But Monk admitted: “As you have seen it is not easy. There is not a lot of movement across all the clubs in this league.

“There is competition for it but I know the club is working hard and the need for it is more than apparent. But that is not going to solve all the problems, this is more of a process and a longer-term thing.

“The more players we get in that have the desire game-in, game-out then of course that is going to help the ones that are already here.”

Monk insists that the problems facing the Owls will not be corrected overnight and feels he will need more than one transfer window to help mould his own squad.

Monk continued: “The club have spoke about that, they are all onboard with it, they understand it is a process, it is not just an overnight thing.

“There are players in there that are ready to give their all but it has to be a collective. And you have to do that religiously, not when you feel like it. You can’t go through the motions in this league and we have done that too often.

“And this month especially has really highlighted that when the heat is turned up and when the games come thick and fast, it is when you need to see it.

“And we haven’t seen it this month.”

As the former Owls loanee –having had a spell at Hillsborough in late 2002 and early 2003 – approaches 150 days in charge he feels he has given every player a fair chance to prove their worth ahead of what is set to be a busy summer transfer window.

“I think everyone has had an opportunity, I have given every player more than enough opportunity,” added Monk.

“Those things will be clear, they are clear in my mind.

“I am prepared to take the ones that are ready to fight all the way with me, to go on that journey.

“Anyone that can’t do that won’t be here.”

Although Monk pulled no punches in his frank assessment of the defeat at Wigan, he did reserve praise for left-back Morgan Fox.

The 26-year-old set up Wednesday’s only goal of the night, delivering a pinpoint cross for Jacob Murphy to head home.

However, he picked up an ankle injury in the first half but was determined to play through the pain. Monk allowed the player to return for the second period before deciding to bring him off for Tom Lees on 50 minutes.

“He [Morgan Fox] is one that gives his all,” added Monk.

“He picked up a knock on his ankle and it was getting sorer as the first half went on and at half-time, it is the attitude you want to see, he wanted to go back out there.

“But you could see in that first five to 10 minutes he wasn’t right, so I made that change because I didn’t want to risk that injury.

“It is a bit sore, that was the reason for that change.”

From that point, things began to go downhill for the visitors as Wigan began to find more joy in the Owls’ box.

However, Monk had little time to make excuses.

“There is no excuses. We can’t have excuses from our side,” insisted the Wednesday chief.

“There is no excuse for that poor showing in the second half. That is no excuse.”

Wednesday next face a Millwall side on Saturday who surrendered a lead of their own on Tuesday night.

Having led promotion-chasing Leeds United by two goals at Elland Road, the Lions capitulated to lose the game 3-2.

But Monk won’t be changing his preparations for the fixture as he aims for a return to winning ways, saying: “It is about selecting the team that is going to fight. I have to have a good think about that.”