Sheffield Wednesday: Garry Monk on Fulham, Scott Parker and the rise of British bosses in the Championship
Two passionate, young, ambitious English managers are set to lead their teams into battle at Hillsborough this weekend.
Garry Monk, preparing for his first home match in charge of the Owls, is relishing the prospect of taking on Scott Parker's Fulham side.
The likes of Monk, 40, Parker, 38, and Huddersfield Town's Danny Cowley, 40, are flying the flag for English bosses in the Championship.
"It’s brilliant," Monk told The Star. "Maybe for a while there was maybe a stigma about English managers that we weren’t capable, that we were old-school, even the younger ones.
"But I think it’s very clear we have some very good, young British coaches. Very thoughtful ones, on a par with others.
"The foreign influence has been fantastic as well, because it has helped us learn a lot. Even as a player, having foreign coaches was excellent, I learned things maybe I wouldn’t have learned.
"But in the modern game, I think we as British coaches feel we are as good as anyone else. We are trying to fight for that."
Wednesday are Monk's fifth management job since he called time on his playing career, which included a three-month loan spell with the Owls in the 2002-03 campaign.
As for Parker, he only kicked off his managerial journey seven months ago. The former England international was promoted from first-team coach to caretaker boss after Claudio Ranieri was sacked.
Monk, formerly of Swansea City, Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Birmingham City, said: "It’s a shock to the system (moving from player to manager). The sense of responsibility is 10-fold to what a player feels.
"It’s difficult, but you can see in Scott - he was a top player - he has done his coaching behind the scenes at Fulham, and will have his own ideas.
"He has an incredible squad to pick from and try to execute what he wants. They have one of the strongest squads in the league.
"They had the disappointment of last season, but they have managed to keep top quality players in their squad - and added to it - and I think Scott has done very well.
"Fulham are a lot further down the line of being together, a way of working and understanding.
"But we have to be competitive, we are not going to be the finished product that I want."
Monk made a winning start as Owls boss, guiding the team to a routine 2-0 win over struggling Huddersfield Town.
But the ex-Swansea City defender believes there is still plenty of room for improvement.
"Since coming into management I have seen a lot of all the (Wednesday) players," said Monk, who is likely to be again without captain Tom Lees (hamstring). "You have a good idea of what they are capable of. But the truth comes when you are stood in front of them on a day-to-day basis and I can see a lot of room for improvement.
"Right now, we are just concentrating on getting that competitiveness and mentality right, to raise the standards, and then work on the quality as we go along.
"I have a good group here and I am enjoying working with them. They know the demands are going to be raised, each day, each week, and they understand that. They have been very responsive.
"We need to be in a position to win, or take points from the game, which gives you longer to work.
"But it’s a difficult league, Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday. It’s very difficult to get all the training across because you can’t work too intensively with the players.
"We have another international break coming up and that will be another chance to get a big block of work done. That’s life in the Championship."
Monk insists it will take time for him to fully implement his philosophy but he is acutely aware of the pressure on his shoulders to deliver success.
He said: "I understand the demands; you have to get results and you have to get your team to that end goal of where they need to be as soon as you can.
"Normally you have a pre-season period where the bulk of that work is done, then throughout the season it’s brushed up and re-affirmed.
"I don’t have that luxury, but I have been in that situation before and understand firstly we need to be competitive."