Middlesbrough boss Garry Monk says he only has fantastic memories of Leeds United’s fans – as he prepares to face a gauntlet of abuse.
Monk returns to Elland Road for the first time since quitting the club in the summer.
The 38-year-old angered many Leeds supporters with the nature of his departure, and how quickly he took over as Boro boss afterwards.
However, ahead of their Championship clash tomorrow, Monk says he isn’t bothered about what reception he’ll receive on his return to the city.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the team,” said Monk. “The reception is not even my focus, the focus is on my team.
“My memories of Elland Road are fantastic, I have some great memories there and it’s a great atmospheric stadium.
“Last season I experienced that as much as anyone. Going there now as manager of Middlesbrough, my main focus is on my team.
“I can only speak highly of the Leeds fans while I was there. To have helped build some togetherness, unity and enjoyed my time at a club where I had never previously had any connection with, I enjoyed. My memories of the fans there were fantastic.
“Because some people say stuff about you, it doesn’t deter from what the proper fans who gave great support to me and my staff, the players and the memories I will cherish forever.”
Monk led Leeds to the brink of the play-offs in his season in charge, before a late collapse saw the Whites miss out on the top six.
He was replaced by Thomas Christiansen in the summer, but after a stunning start which saw them top the table, Leeds have lost seven of their last eight games in all competitions.
Monk has had a steady start to life at the Riverside Stadium, but Boro have picked up in the last couple of weeks, winning their last three games including a 1-0 derby win over Sunderland in their previous outing.
However, he will be without the suspended Cyrus Christie for tomorrow’s game.
Leeds striker Caleb Ekuban, meanwhile, could return from the foot injury he picked up against Sunderland in August while winger Stuart Dallas has recovered from a badly bruised foot.