14 November 2020 14:36
Get the latest Boro stories straight to your inbox with our daily newsletter Enter your email Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email "Seasoned winner" Tony Pulis a wise appointment by Sheffield Wednesday, says Brian Laws. Former Boro boss Pulis was confirmed as the new Owls boss on Friday night, replacing Garry Monk, as he did at the Riverside almost three years ago. And ex-Boro defender Laws thinks the move makes sense. "I think it's a sensible appointment," he told BBC Radio Sheffield. "I have heard many supporters concerned thinking he's a long ball tactician.
I know Tony quite well, I've watched a lot of his training sessions and I have worked alongside him. "The one thing you're going to get from Tony is a seasoned winner in that his teams know how to win games. "Now if he's got those tools currently, he won't change them dramatically but what he will do is he's very much a disciplinarian. "He will make sure they are marshaled, they will understand their responsibilities and every man will know his role within that football club." Pulis is set to hold his first training session and speak to the press at his unveiling on Monday, before taking charge of his first game away at Preston next week. Boro will come up against Pulis at Hillsborough on December 29 before the return fixture at the Riverside in late April. The new man takes over an Owls side two points from the safety mark. Chairman Dejphon Chansiri will speak to the media alongside his new man on Monday before attention turns to a trip to Preston next weekend. So welcome to Sheffield Wednesday, Tony Pulis. Here's your in-tray of matters that need sorting on the field. Sign up to our Sheffield Wednesday newsletter The i newsletter cut through the noise Sign up Thanks for signing up! In their 11 league matches this season, Wednesday have scored only six goals, one-third of which has come from the penalty spot. There's an understandable focus on the strikers, who have scored only three goals between them in that time, but Pulis' concern may well be on the quality of chances served up to the men up top. Wednesday's xG – a metric designed to measure the chances of a side scoring and taken from where shots are taken – has been far too low throughout the season. Keiren Westwood's mere presence at the club brings it's own speculation. Monk stuck the twice Owls player of the year in the bomb squad, with Cameron Dawson and Joe Wildsmith preferred to battle it out as he attempted to forge a new way forward for the club. When Jos Luhukay was sacked, Westwood was brought back in by Lee Bullen and then Steve Bruce to the approval of many supporters. But Westwood is now 36 and approaching the end of his contract – it'll be interesting to see which way Pulis falls. Wednesday need to be tougher. After all that was said about their mental frailties last season, through the five-nils and the late capitulations, there have been signs of edging improvement. But the manner of the defeat at Rotherham, for example, was major cause for concern. Monk admitted that concern himself and Pulis, a manager who arrives with a reputation for putting together solid, uncompromising sides, will hope to wrestle with that early doors. For every win at Cardiff in recent months, there have been far too many defeats at Rotherham. Consistency has plagued Wednesday's chances for longer than Monk's reign and it's a long-held issue that needs tackling before the club can begin to attack Chansiri's ultimate target of promotion. If Pulis can do that, they'll have a real chance of building something. Those were the buzzwords for a Garry Monk identity that never quite materialised, though he'd have liked more time to put it in place. That time never came and it will be interesting to see how Pulis goes about instilling an identity on an Owls side that has been without one, some would argue, since Carlos Carvalhal's first season all those years ago. Many are expecting a more direct approach and that may well be the case, but he's a manager that has set up in a number of different ways across his career. MORE FROM OUR WEDNESDAY WRITING TEAM Thank you for reading this article, one of dozens we publish every single day to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative coverage of YOUR club. This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to from the football team at The Star, please consider taking out a subscription to our new discounted sports-only package. Your support is much appreciated. Comment: Why Tony Pulis deserves respect at Sheffield Wednesday ON Friday the 13th, Twitter was awash with scare stories and predictably many of those revolved around Tony Pulis regarding his impending appointment at Sheffield Wednesday. New Sheffield Wednesday manager Tony Pulis. It will have passed the new Owls manager - who has previously referenced his lack of interest in social media and speaks with the sagacity of someone who has accrued 28 years in football's cut-throat industry by always doing his own thing - totally by. Sign up to our daily newsletter The i newsletter cut through the noise Sign up Thanks for signing up! Amid the chirping in the background about 'Pulisball' from some holier-than-thou supporters of West Brom and Middlesbrough in particular, there were some refreshing voices of reason emanating from the Potteries, where Pulis rebooted Stoke City and put a once proud club back on the footballing map and into Europe. Some Wednesdayites - by no means all, but a fair number - had the good sense to listen and make sensible contributions as well. In the club's current position, Wednesday cannot afford to be choosy or footballing snobs. The Owls - who are only kept from the bottom of the Championship table on goal difference alone - have won seven times in 32 league matches this year. They have won just twice at Hillsborough in 2020. It is a team who have lacked consistency and identity in the final analysis. Which is where the arrival of Pulis might just come in handy. Walk around the corridors of the West Stand and the pictures of the likes of Waddle and Sheridan dominate, evoking back to an era when Wednesday under Ron Atkinson and Trevor Francis produced some exquisite fare and were successful as well. Can Wednesdayites safely say that their side have come anywhere near those heights since, safe perhaps for an exhilarating first campaign in charge for Carlos Carvalhal in the nearly season of 2015-16? Even during the third-tier promotion seasons under Paul Sturrock in 2004-05 and with Gary Megson and then Dave Jones in charge in 2011-12, the Owls' success was forged upon the traditional footballing virtues of power, organisation, resolve and an unquenchable team spirit. They were happy and together times. It was not pure football, but both were seasons where everyone was on the same page and fans who came to games knew what they were going to get. Which brings us to Pulis. Anti-football and mind-numbingly boring is the familiar cry from the knockers regarding his defence-orientated and direct footballing ethos as they attempt to drown out those who respectfully say: 'Give him a chance' in the background. Granted, his time at former club Middlesbrough was solid, but not spectacular. Boro just missed out on the play-offs in the Welshman's only full season in charge in 2018-19, having reached the end-of-season lottery in the previous campaign when Pulis took over at Christmas, ironically from Garry Monk. A lack of goals was the main reason Boro finished seventh in 18-19, minus the services of Adama Traore and Patrick Bamford, who were both sold, it is worth adding. He was also going nowhere at Boro until the guiding hand of Pulis turned his career around and propelled him in the right direction during a mesmerizing second-half of 18-19 when he took on the Championship. For a brief spell, Traore was the most exciting player on Teesside since the arrival of Juninho in the mid-Nineties. Perception would suggest that Bamford - a player of finesse, touch and movement, but few real physical attributes - was the sort of player who would not fit into Pulis's world. He scored 13 goals in that campaign for Boro. Ten arrived under Pulis and only three came under Monk's watch. It proves that the narrative with Pulis can be selective. The fact that the likes of creative players such as Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Etherington excelled under him alongside others such as Salomón Rondón is conveniently ignored. It is also worth adding that with Pulis gone, Boro went into descent last season. It took the arrival of another savvy operator in Neil Warnock to rescue their season and probably save them from a first relegation to the third tier since 1986. The Owls will perhaps represent the biggest challenge of the career of Newport-born Pulis, the son of a steel worker now doing his graft in the Steel City. With due respect to the teams he has previously managed, this is the biggest club he has taken charge of too. At the very least, Pulis deserves a bit of respect and a chance. But he won't be losing sleep regarding the doubters. Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire.