LEEDS UNITED supporters could surely be forgiven for having an acute sense of deja vu.
A little over three years on from Steve McClaren marking his bow as Derby County manager with a 3-1 victory over United, today will again see the former England manager lock horns with the Yorkshire club after being welcomed back to the Ipro Stadium earlier this week for a second time.
For Garry Monk, however, that is where all similarities with the October, 2013, meeting will end as Leeds look to maintain the form that brought five wins from their last six outings before the international break.
“The way I am I don’t focus on the news coming up but he (McClaren) has gone in there now and the little bit of doubt you have in those situations is that certain things could change,” said the Leeds head coach. “There are things they might do differently from what they have done so far. There is that possibility.
“But we make the players adaptable. Part of our training is always about that. If there are changes, we have to be ready for it. I expect it to be a really tough game now and I expect their players to try and impress the new manager. So, our desire has to be right up there and our intensity has to be right up there, if not better.”
Much has changed for Leeds since that afternoon when McClaren’s reign got off to a flyer with only Luke Murphy of the 18 United players on duty still at Elland Road.
There have also been six managerial changes since that loss for Brian McDermott’s side along with the arrival of owner Massimo Cellino.
Monk, the latest of those appointments, added: “We want to carry on from where we left off last month. All we have done is realise how competitive we can be. Improving on that is our challenge. But I see it in the players and I feel good about them.
“It is a bit of a bizarre league at the best of times. There are so many games. You can go one week and have an unbelievable week. Everything is great. But then you can go another week, don’t win a game and everything is a disaster. That is how it is perceived.
“Do we expect those teams like Derby to be there come the end of the season? No we don’t.
“But there is also no divine right. You have too earn it and that is what we are trying to do – earn the right to be a good team in this league.
“Wherever you finish in the league is where you deserve to finish.”