NEW SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY manager Garry Monk insists he is happy to embrace the pressure of expectation at the club following his unveiling at Hillsborough yesterday.
The former Leeds United and Middlesbrough chief, out of work after being sacked by Birmingham City in June, has been challenged to propel Wednesday into the promotion picture by chairman Dejphon Chansiri.
The Owls supremo, speaking at Monk’s press conference, boldly referenced his hopes of the club being among the automatic promotion contenders this season.
Chansiri, who confirmed that Lee Bullen will work as Monk’s assistant, said: “I have always said since my first year that I never think about play-offs. I always think about top two.”
For his part, Monk remains confident the squad he has inherited is more than capable of making an impact at the top end of the Championship and spoke of his delight after his move to Hillsborough – where he spent a brief loan spell as a player during the 2002-03 season.
Monk, Wednesday’s ninth permanent appointment in the past decade, said: “Obviously, it has moved quite quickly over the last 48 hours and now I am here. I am lucky in the sense that I was a player here many moons ago, although only for a short period.
“But even in that short time, I got a good grasp of what this club is about.
“I know how powerful a club this is and the history and the tradition of the club and know the backing that the chairman has given the club over the years.
“It is a great opportunity and one I am excited about.
It is a great opportunity and one I am excited about. There are big clubs in this league with tradition and history. The overriding factor is that I am excited.New Sheffield wednesday manager Garry Monk
“There are big clubs in this league with tradition and history. The overriding factor is that I am excited.
“The thing that is exciting is that we know it is a capable squad and that it is potentially a very strong squad in this league. It is about trying to find a way to bring that out. That is the big thing.
“I do believe that if we can get to work and put a few things in place that can help this group of players, then it can accelerate that potential it has got.
“If we can reach the potential that we have got, then we have a great chance in this league of doing something successful.”
On his pride at being handed the managerial reins, the 40-year-old, whose first game in charge will be a Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield Town on Sunday week added: “It is an honour to be manager of such a huge football club.
“I am lucky in the sense I had an experience here as a player.
“It wasn’t for long but it was long enough for me to understand playing in front of the fans and what it means to them and what that fanbase can give you and what the club is in terms of stature and the tradition it has.
“I have always thought that whenever I have come back here. Those memories come back; even moving into management and when I have come back to Hillsborough.”
Meanwhile, Chansiri is confident that he has landed the ‘best choice’ to replace Steve Bruce on a full-time basis in Monk. He was also quick to praise Bullen for his work during his latest interim spell in charge.
“He (Monk) is the best choice,” insisted Chansiri. “We looked at his cv and he did very well with Birmingham and other clubs and I think he can do well.
“Many managers sent their cv‘s to us in July when Steve Bruce left and I talked to some in July before I went to America.
“I think he (Monk) is ambitious with positive ideas and I believe he is hungry to be a success.
“I need to thank Lee Bullen during his time as caretaker.
“He did quite well, that is why I am happy that he took over and why he will still be here as an assistant.”
Revealing that Bullen has a big role to play at Hillsborough, Monk – who has not ruled out bringing in additional new staff members over the course of time – said: “Most importantly, I am looking forward to working with Lee and the staff here.
“To use the knowledge that Lee has and the other staff here is invaluable.”