By Harry Sykes
Kyle Bartley has one piece of advice for Leeds powerbrokers Andrea Radrizzani and Massimo Cellino: hold on to Garry Monk.
The defensive lynchpin made an impassioned plea to the Elland Road chiefs to hang on to the manager as a storm swirls around the club following the end of their promotion dream.
Leeds drew 3-3 in a thriller against Norwich on Saturday, which means they will end the campaign in seventh after losing out to Fulham for the final play-offs spot.
Reports emerged on Sunday that Monk is set to be sacked by joint-owners Radrizzani and Cellino after the club missed out on promotion to the Premier League.
But supporters are desperate for Monk, who signed only a 12-month contract when he was appointed as manager last summer, to remain at the helm and have besieged Radrizzani with messages on Twitter urging him not to sack the 38-year-old.
It is a viewpoint echoed by Bartley, even though he admitted that he will be back at Swansea next season when he Leeds loan spell ends.
“I said after week two of the season that Garry’s the best manager in the league and my opinion on that hasn’t changed all season,” Bartley told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“He’s a fantastic manager and I feel a bit embarrassed talking about my future when his future is up in the air. If I was to say anything to Leeds it would be to get Garry signed up before you think about any players. He’s the cornerstone of this club at the moment and if they don’t sign him up they could be in trouble.
“His personality, knowledge, insight and temperament are second to none. He’s been absolutely fantastic. He’s never pointed fingers when things have gone wrong and he’s taken the blame. We owe him more than what we’ve showed and we’ve let him down.
“If Garry does stay, the club will be in better hands than if he doesn’t. The owners need to show their intent. If they do that it will be onwards and upwards. If they don’t then on their heads be it.”
The erratic Cellino has sacked a staggering six managers since buying an initial majority stake in the club in January 2014.
Monk will be the first Elland Road boss to see out a full campaign since Brian McDermott in 2014.
In other Leeds United news, a stunning £14million bid is being prepared as deal edges closer with Premier League big hitters.