Garry Monk says Sheffield Wednesday’s players have done a good job of blocking out the distraction of a potential points deduction.
The Owls’ play-off push is being overshadowed by the threat of possible Football League sanctions over their financial management.
They go into tomorrow’s televised game at home to Bristol City a point above the Robins in the Championship, but the punishment for the misconduct charge hanging over them could potentially be as high as 21 points.
The League are uncomfortable about the way the Owls sold and leased back their historic Hillsborough home to a company controlled by owner Dejphon Chansiri, allowing them to get around “profitability and sustainability” rules.
Wednesday have promised to vigorously contest their misconduct charge.
It has not ended there, with the club complaining this week that the League will not hear their charge against what they call “unlawful” actions.
You can’t avoid seeing those things but we know when we come in here our duty is to focus on the football.Garry Monk
An investigation by a national newspaper revealed that Wednesday’s main shirt sponsors, “Chansiri” and “elev8”, and scoreboard sponsor “D Taxis”, are not active for public or commercial use, despite pumping £1.27m into the club each year. All are owned by Chansiri.
Monk, who was Birmingham City manager when they were docked nine points for breaching the “profitability and sustainability” rules – not what Wednesday are accused of – has tried to ensure his players keep all such noise out of their minds.
“There will be many things that will come out,” he says.
“My job is to focus on the football.
“You can’t avoid seeing those things but we know when we come in here our duty is to focus on the football.
“When you come in through those gates in the morning it’s about how you want to be as a group.
“The outside noise is not just about things like that, it could be many outside influences – things at home, arguments you may have had with your missus when you’ve got a new kid (as Kieran Lee did last week) and you’ve got no sleep. You have to try and leave that at the gate so when you come in here it’s all about the football and you pick that stuff back up when you walk out.”
Monk has been able to draw on his time at St Andrew’s.
“I learnt from that experience at Birmingham and I’ve tried to use it here,” he says.
“I tried to use the things you thought were the right things for the players here.
“I spoke to them on the first day it came out and we discussed how to deal with that. Since then we’ve barely had to mention it.
“There are things which have come out in the media and we spoke about that on the first day. I’ve said it many times, we’re not going to waste any energy, from our point of view we’ll concentrate on what we have to do, which is the football side of it.
“That was part of the experience I had from Birmingham as well, to use those things for a mentality to come together. When a football club has those things to deal with it’s not just, for instance, for the chairman to deal with, it’s for all of us to support each other, from the terraces all the way up to the owner.
“That’s where a siege mentality and fighting spirit has to come through.
“We need our fans to recognise that and make sure they come through with that passionate support. The best way to do that is by supporting the players on the pitch and giving them the sort of atmosphere to tap into and support them. That’s going to be crucial for the rest of the season.”
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