Steve Claridge: These are two things Leeds have done to help Monk deliver the goods
By Harry Sykes
Steve Claridge has backed the Massimo Cellino-led Leeds board for putting the foundations in place for Garry Monk to be a success.
The BBC pundit hailed Elland Road chiefs for sticking with Monk after a rocky start and providing the funds for him to invest in a squad that is challenging for promotion.
Leeds won their fifth match out of six in all competitions on Monday night when they overcame a poor start to come from a goal down and beat League Two side Cambridge United 2-1 in the third round of the FA Cup.
The win provided further evidence of the revival led by Monk, who has transformed the fortunes of the team since replacing Steve Evans last summer.
The former Swansea boss completely refurbished the squad in the last window, bringing in 11 new senior players and many have had a major impact, including the likes of Pontus Jansson, Kyle Bartley, Hadi Sacko, Luke Ayling and new January signing Pablo Hernandez.
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Claridge believes some of the credit must go to erratic owner Cellino and his colleagues in the Leeds boardroom.
“Lots of things that have gone on at Leeds have left a slightly bitter taste,” said Claridge, as quoted by the live FA Cup blog on the BBC Sport website on Monday (9.53pm). “But what they done is given the manager a chance and backed him financially.
“You get the feeling Garry Monk, with what he has had to put up with, just lets it wash over him. He comes across as a focused person.”
The Yorkshire giants are fifth in the Championship 25 matches into the 46-game campaign after accumulating an impressive haul of 45 points.
There is now hope of a brighter future inspired by events on and off the pitch.
Tycoon Andrea Radrizzani formally completed a takeover of the club last week, buying a 50 per cent stake in Leeds in a deal which gives the option to take 100 per cent control in July.
Leeds have high hopes of clinching a place in the play-offs, although automatic promotion is a more distant objective.
The Yorkshire giants are seven points behind second-placed Newcastle and nine adrift of leaders Brighton.
In other Leeds news, the club are in talks to sign a £10million-rated Premier League striker.