This week saw Birmingham City employ Garry Monk as their new manager, with the task of keeping the club in the Championship for next season. He got off to a poor start last night, losing to his former club Middlesbrough 1-0.
Fans from one of his other former clubs however have been interested in Monk’s appointment. Birmingham’s new boss was of course manager at Leeds United last season. He nearly took them to the play-offs, only to lose out after a resurgent Fulham stormed up the Championship table.
Monk’s appointment at Birmingham has already got tongues wagging regarding some Leeds players joining him at St Andrew’s in the summer. The free agent this summer Pablo Hernandez, a fan favourite at Elland Road, already feared to be a target for Monk.
But there are other Leeds players that fans at Elland Road would happily see head to Birmingham in the summer for a Monk reunion.
One such player is Eunan O’Kane. Signed by Monk in August 2016 the Republic of Ireland international came with promotion pedigree. O’Kane had helped Bournemouth to Premier League promotion in 2014-15. However, he has failed to win over Leeds fans. This season in particular the Irishman has struggled and many Leeds fans would not be sad if Monk targeted him in the summer.
Unfortunately, that looks unlikely.
Whilst Monk may have signed O’Kane he, like the Leeds fanbase, was never won over by the midfielder. O’Kane ended up losing his place at Leeds to youngsters Kalvin Phillips and Ronaldo Vieira toward the end of the season. He spoke of his frustration at his enforced absence to the Irish Times last September, stating:
“It was hugely frustrating for me because I had been in that situation before in terms of teams trying to get promoted and I do think my experience could have benefited everyone…
“It’s not my place to pick the team but if you do go back to last season and look at the record of when I was in the team, I don’t think I could have done an awful lot more than what I did do.
“But I wasn’t being selected. It’s like I say, though, I didn’t get to pick the team; all I could do was make myself available.”
Clearly Monk was not overly convinced on O’Kane and, Leeds fans would not blame him based on his recent form.
If Leeds fans want to see O’Kane moved on and replaced in the summer they might just get their wish. But any idea Birmingham could be a quick fix to the problem now Monk is there should be swiftly forgotten.