LEEDS UNITED head coach Garry Monk insisted last night that he was the victim of an “extremely harsh” touchline ban - but claimed the punishment would have no impact on tomorrow’s clash with Derby County.
Monk is preparing to watch a game from the stands for the first time in his managerial career after the Football Association imposed a one-match suspension and a £2,000 fine for his sending-off at Bristol City last month.
Monk, who was accused of swearing at referee Keith Stroud and calling him “a disgrace”, pleaded guilty to the offence and conceded he said “one word I shouldn’t have said” but voiced surprise at the decision to banish him from the dug-out.
Assistant Pep Clotet is back in England after travelling to Spain for the birth of his son and he and first-team coach James Beattie will occupy the technical area at Pride Park while Monk looks on from the stands.
United’s boss, however, is allowed to remain in radio contact with his bench and Monk said he had no fear of the sanction affecting Leeds’ performance against a Derby side who will be under the control of new manager Steve McClaren.
“The preparation’s been exactly the same,” Monk said. “Communication with the bench will be fine so it’s really only physically in the technical area where I won’t be. It’ll be a new experience for me but I’ll get a different type of view. Hopefully that’ll be an advantage technically.
“The way that we work, for this one game, there’s no problem. I’m still very much involved.”
Asked if he had been tempted to fight the FA charge, Monk said: “From experience, no. I accept it.
“I said one word I shouldn’t have said but I do think the punishment is extremely harsh considering what was actually said. I’m not going to go into details. Considering I’ve never been in trouble before it was a bit surprising but there’s no point going against it. I said a word I shouldn’t have said. I apologise for that.
“I’m hoping it doesn’t affect anything. I’ll still have good communication with the bench so it’s for the players to go out and deliver, like it always is.”
Beattie said earlier this week that he was ready to occupy the dug-out alone if Clotet’s paternal commitments delayed his return from Spain but Clotet has flown back to Leeds in preparation for tomorrow’s Championship fixture.
“It was a new experience for him but a great one,” Monk said. “He’s spent a little bit of time with his missus but he’s back now for the weekend.
“We all know how we work and everyone understands my ideas. Pep being back is good because he’s experienced but it was never going to be a problem. We have our plan and we always plan for different scenarios in games. That’s always clear before every game.”
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