GARRY MONK hopes Sol Bamba gets a warm reception – but has a difficult afternoon – when Leeds United face their former captain in Saturday’s Championship clash with Cardiff City.
Bamba made 56 appearances for Leeds and was appointed club captain under Uwe Rosler in 2015, a position that Monk allowed the centre-back to keep following his appointment as head coach last June.
But after falling down the defensive pecking order, Bamba was released by Leeds on September 1 and joined Cardiff under former Whites boss Neil Warnock eight days later.
Bamba has been a regular in the Bluebirds’ side since and will now face the unfamiliar prospect of heading for the away dressing room at Elland Road.
And while Monk hopes United’s fans give both their former captain and manager a warm reception, the Whites head coach hopes the hospitality will end there.
“I’m sure Sol will get a good one,” said Monk, asked what sort of reception he thought Bamba would face.
“I think the Leeds fans are very knowledgeable and they will be the ones that decide those situations.
“I am sure that Neil and Sol will be fine but that’s not really my focus.
“My focus is on making it a very difficult day for them, albeit that they were very good here and Sol especially because I know him from here.
“We got on very well and that situation is what it was.
“But our job and my team’s job is to make it a very difficult day for them so hopefully they don’t enjoy it on the pitch.”
Warnock oversaw 63 games in charge of Leeds after being appointed in February 2012.
Since parting company with United in April 2013, the veteran manager has had spells in charge of Crystal Palace, QPR, Rotherham United and now City, who sit 17th and only eight points off the dropzone.
Leeds were 2-0 victors in this season’s reverse fixture back in September when the Bluebirds were managed by Paul Trollope.
Asked if the added ingredient of facing former Whites boss Warnock added extra spice to the occasion, Monk reasoned: “Not for myself personally, no.
“But obviously he’s an former manager and Neil is a very experienced manager and he will want to come here and do well and he’ll have a game plan to do that.
“We have to be ready for that but we also need to be ready to keep showing the improvement we need to.
“Our way of playing and the way that we set up and approach games needs to be the same and we look to improve each time we step on the pitch.
“We are very determined and focussed on that on this weekend. Neil has Cardiff very well structured and drilled and as always they are very competitive and difficult to play against – as with any game at this level.
“But we have been preparing for the situation that we think we might face and the main focus for us is to put our football and our improvement on the pitch each time we step out on there and put our way of playing to try and impose ourselves on the opposition.”