BAMBA IN TUNE WITH THE FANS

On-song Sol is lov­ing it at Leeds

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Joshua Richards

SOL Bamba has played a ma­jor part in Leeds’ re­cov­ery since the turn of the year – and would love to stay long-term to re­ward the club’s ‘un­be­liev­able’ fans.

The 30-year-old cen­tre-back joined Leeds on loan in the win­ter trans­fer win­dow from Palermo – just months af­ter agree­ing a three­year deal with the Serie A club.

Bamba’s ca­reer with the Rosanero has never got out of the blocks, hav­ing played just one league game, yet by stark con­trast he has been a sen­sa­tion in west York­shire.

While fab four Alex Mowatt pic­tured be­low, Lewis Cook, Sam Byram and Char­lie Tay­lor have taken most of the re­cent plau­dits, Bamba has gone about his busi­ness with classy com­po­sure.

Stay

And rather than fo­cus on mak­ing a suc­cess of his time in Italy, Bamba has re­vealed he has his heart set on swap­ping the Palermo pink for the United white per­ma­nently.

“I re­ally hope I’m go­ing to stay,” said the Ivory Coast in­ter­na­tional. “I en­joy it here, the lads, the city and ev­ery­thing has been good. Hope­fully we’ll sort some­thing for me to stay.

“I’m con­tracted to Palermo for an­other two years, but I’ve been speak­ing to peo­ple at the club and I don’t think they will make it dif­fi­cult for me to leave.”

If Leeds want some­one to teach their young­sters the game, then Bamba is the ideal man.

The French-born de­fender has played for Paris Saint-Ger­main, Dun­fermline, Hibs, Le­ices­ter and Trabzonspor in a much-trav­elled ca­reer.

“I like that there are a lot of good young play­ers here and I think that I can help them with my ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said. “I’m 30 now and at this stage of my ca­reer I want to set­tle.

“This is a mas­sive club, so if I can stay here for an­other two or three years it would be great.

“The sup­port we have is un­be­liev­able. I’ve never known that be­fore. The crowd is the rea­son we have to get re­sults.”

There is an un­fa­mil­iar air of calm about El­land Road at the mo­ment. That may well co­in­cide with the fact con­tro­ver­sial chief Mas­simo Cellino is tem­po­rar­ily out of the pic­ture.

Mood

Years of fi­nan­cial in­se­cu­rity, mul­ti­ple changes of own­er­ship – not to men­tion man­agers – plus play-off fi­nal de­feats and rel­e­ga­tion seem to be a thing of the past.

And while the go­ing is good, Bamba wants his team to end the sea­son at a can­ter to en­sure they hit the ground run­ning next term, whether he is there or not.

“At the mo­ment the mood is good,” he added. “When you have a re­sult on your side it is al­ways good. We want to fin­ish strongly so we can be ready for next sea­son.

“There is a great to­geth­er­ness here with all the lads.We hate to get beaten and we want to keep go­ing like that un­til the end of the sea­son.

“We’ve got a job to do. It’s about win­ning games and be­ing ready for next sea­son.

“It doesn’t mat­ter what hap­pens and who stays or goes, it is im­por­tant to fin­ish strong and be in a good mind­set for the start of next sea­son.

“It’s good to have the sum­mer with your fam­ily and have a rest, and then when you come back you are ready to go.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

GET­TING STUCK IN: Sol Bamba slides in to tackle Mill­wall’s Diego Fab­brini

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