Tony Pulis needs Sheffield Wednesday players to 'wash' wages problems from their minds

PROBLEMS: Sheffield Wednesday manager Tony PulisPROBLEMS: Sheffield Wednesday manager Tony Pulis
PROBLEMS: Sheffield Wednesday manager Tony Pulis
Tony Pulis says he will have to wash Sheffield Wednesday's off-field problems from his players' minds so they can focus totally on getting the win they so desperately need.

This week it emerged that the Owls players had not been paid in full and on time in November, a situation which could bring a transfer embargo to a club where the new manager is desperate for signings to bolster his squad.

But that cannot happen until January, and bottom-of-the-table Wednesday cannot allow themselves to be cut adrift in that time. They are currently seven points from safety with nine to play for until the New Year.

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So Pulis does not want the players to think about anything but three points at home to Coventry City on Saturday, when he will be without the injured Dominic Iorfa, Joost van Aken, Julian Borner, Massimo Luongo and Cameron Dawson, and possibly Tom Lees and Keiren Westwood too.

“I think the players have been speaking to the financial director and their messages have gone through to the chairman. It's a difficult situation and one that must be resolved one way or the another,” he said.

“It's a situation that has to be dealt with by the chairman and the financial director, they're the ones who pay the wages.

“The chairman has put a lot of money into this football club.

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“I think most clubs in the Championship, most clubs in the Football League, are finding it financially very difficult at the moment with Covid. That's the best I can do.

“From Norwich onwards the players have known the (full) wages were not in their wage pack. The Norwich game we played exceptionally well and really should have had two penalties so it's gone on through this month. The players have to deal with it and get on with it, we're football people, but it's very difficult for everybody, I understand that.

“I have got to try and make sure the players focus on the football. I'm here really to manage a group of players to win football matches and my concern is with that.

“I'm more concerned at the moment with the injuries we've got for the game. Losing Dominic last week with an Achilles injury and I don't think Joosty is going to be fit for Saturday, I don't think Julian's going to be fit for Saturday, Massimo won't be. That has been on my mind more than anything else.

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“There's a lot of things spinning around at the moment that we have to wash away from the players' minds.”

As is always the case for a struggling team it never rains, but it pours.

As well as their injuries, Pulis has to do without the suspended Moses Odubajo, who as well as picking up his fifth booking of the season was also spotted laughing and high-fiving Lewis Grabban after the Nottingham Forest scored their striker second goal in Tuesday's 2-0 defeat, the Owls' fifth in a row. Odubajo later claimed on Twitter the video had been “misconstrued”, and said he was laughing because he was so convinced the goal would be ruled out for what he felt was a foul by Grabban on Tom Lees to create the chance.

Pulis shouted angrily at Odubajo at the time, but explained why he has not yet laid down the law to him.

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“I wasn't in the mood really to speak to him (on Thursday), I was still boiling a little bit,” he said before Friday's training session.

“I've seen what he's put on social media, I've been made aware of his reasons and I'll deal with him in a way that I don't think he'll be doing it again.

“We're in an era of soft-pedalling at times in respect of what we say abut people and individuals but there are certain occasions where people do things and they have to hold their hands up and accept the consequences. He's got to hold his hands up and say what he did was absolutely, completely and utterly wrong. For all the stuff his PR man might be telling him to do, the facts are there for everybody to see. What he did was wrong.”

Of Lees's injury from the challenge, he added: “If you have a look at Tom's thigh, above his knee where Grabban has caught him, let's just say he's left his mark. He's got swelling on his thigh and we're hoping and praying he's fit. Even if we strap him up we need to get him out there.”

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First-choice goalkeeper Keiren Westwood is a doubt for Saturday as he recovers from a muscle tweak, and No 3 Cameron Dawson will not be available until February.

“With the situation we are at the moment with the goalkeepers I'll be pushing but whether we can get him out on the pitch we'll wait and see,” said Pulis. “He's had a couple of days' training. You'd really like him to get another week's training but the games have come so fast.

“I wasn't told (about Dawson) until just before the game, he's out for six weeks.”

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