Sheffield Wednesday took on the bold decision to get a firefighter on board in terms of Tony Pulis.
Garry Monk’s time at Hillsborough had soured and off-field matters left the Owls bottom of the Championship table. Pulis was called in on November 13th, tasked with moving Wednesday out of relegation trouble.
In this latest FLW feature of The Hat-Trick we take a look at Pulis…
How’s it gone so far?
When Pulis arrived Wednesday were 23rd in the table and, at the time of writing this, they are now back on the bottom. So, in that sense, it’s not going too well and the new manager is awaiting his first win still.
Pulis kicked off his Wednesday tenure by losing at Preston North End, with Josh Windass’ red-card really hindering them that afternoon.
Draws with Swansea, Stoke and Reading followed, but back-to-back defeats against Norwich City and Huddersfield Town have left Wednesday bottom of the table and four points adrift of safety.
What’s concerning is their level of performance in the loss to Huddersfield. Pulis was far from impressed and labelled the opening exchanges the worst he’s had since arriving at the club.
What issues does he face?
There are a number of things: a lack of quality within his squad, getting his methods across during a hectic schedule and, finally, the fact that Wednesday are bottom of the table fighting relegation.
January is going to be a big month and Pulis needs backing by Dejphon Chansiri. Simply, the squad in place at the moment will go down even under Pulis. Adding that touch of quality is going to be very important.
Pulis can get more out of this Wednesday squad that has to be said. There is enough quality there to survive, even with the point deduction in place.
However, it’s difficult for him to get his methods across on the training pitch when Wednesday are going Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday more often than not.
Finally, the table is an issue. Wednesday are bottom, with nine points on the board. They trail Wycombe Wanderers by two points, Derby County by three and Nottingham Forest by four.
Clawing their way back to touching distance looks a big ask on this week’s performance.
A crucial fixture list over Christmas and then one of the biggest transfer windows that Pulis will have ever faced.
Before January’s FA Cup meeting with Exeter City, Wednesday play Forest and Derby, whilst they also take on Barnsley and Coventry – two clubs in the lower mid-table positions.
They are huge fixtures and Wednesday have to pick up a couple of wins to give them a chance of surviving.
You are then into the thick of a transfer window that will see Wednesday target some new players.
A striker has to be a priority, but the truth is that Pulis could do with a bit more quality over the pitch.
He’s tasked with stopping a blaze spreading at Hillsborough, but Pulis can’t fight that alone. He needs the backing of Chansiri.