PAUL HECKINGBOTTOM admits opposite number Lee Johnson played a big part in his managerial education as the duo get set to meet again when Leeds United welcome Championship visitors Bristol City to Elland Road on Sunday afternoon.
Heckingbottom and Johnson worked together for a year at Barnsley before head coach Johnson left for Bristol City in 2016, a move which paved the way for Heckingbottom to become Tykes head coach.
Now in his new role as head coach of Leeds, the duo will come face to face on Sunday afternoon when the Whites meet the Robins at Elland Road.
Heckingbottom is yet to get the better of the man he succeeded at Oakwell with three meetings as head coach of Barnsley resulting in two victories for Bristol City and a 2-2 draw.
“We worked pretty closely together with the first team at Barnsley,” said Heckingbottom.
“We have kept in touch and I have seen ‘Jonno’ quite a bit this season.
“I am pleased for him because he has been through a couple of tough spells, one at Barnsley and another at Bristol, and come out stronger.
“Bristol are getting the rewards for sticking with him.
“Me knowing ‘Jonno’, his team now is very much in the mould of what he wants.
“He has been given the time to build and has recruited well.
“The one thing I always said about ‘Jonno’ is how hard he works. He is not someone to rely on luck.
“‘Jonno’ was really open at Barnsley. Always getting advice and wanting to know my opinion on things, which was really good for me.
“It opened me up to the things he was dealing with, I would have been a fool not to learn from that.”
“The one thing you get from this job is a good camaraderie between managers.
“Within our league especially, or maybe the top two leagues, there are not many English managers knocking about to know someone personally.
“He knows we will be hell bent on beating them and he will be the same but there is an appreciation for the job the other is doing.”