Rovers clash holds no fears after Belgrade derby, says Medo
HOWEVER passionate or ill-tempered tonight’s derby with Blackburn Rovers gets, Medo Kamara has probably seen worse.
After all, Wanderers’ new arrival found himself in the middle of one of world football’s most bitter rivalries at his last club and has survived to tell the tale.
The Belgrade or “Eternal” derby between Medo’s former club Partizan and their city nemesis Red Star has raged since they were formed out of the ashes of the Second World War.
And because of the trouble between the two rival factions – the Delije (Red Star) and the Grobari (Partizan) – it really is a game that has to be seen to be believed.
Medo is pressing for his first start since joining Wanderers in January after two substitute appearances.
And he has no doubt that however fractious things get at the Reebok, his experience of that game will stand him in good stead.
“I have been in a lot of derbies and I know what they are like,” he said. “In Serbia it is very difficult – so I am sure I’ll be okay.
“A derby in Belgrade is crazy, there is always fighting. Fighting on the pitch, fighting in the crowd, it is mad. So this one should be easy.”
Wanderers fans have only seen brief glimpses of Medo so far, with the midfielder only just into pre-season training in Serbia when Dougie Freedman landed him for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £700,000.
What we have seen, however, is a player more than willing to get stuck in – a style that might well suit a Bolton-Blackburn game that rarely fails to provide a flashpoint.
And a first start cannot come soon enough for the Sierra Leone international.
“It’s quite physical but I’m used to those kind of games so I think I will cope,” he said.
“Fighting in football is no problem for me and that’s what it seems to be in the Championship.
“It is different from the Premier League but it is nothing strange to me.
“I’m happy so far. I was in pre-season before I came here so the coach knew what he was doing with me. Now I want to get into the team.
“I’m wishing for a start now. I appreciate I have got to work to get in there but that is my aim now, a regular start.”
Wanderers are six unbeaten and have won their last three. If they claim three points tonight, it will be the first time they have put four wins together since December 2006.
The late-season surge in form has raised hopes of a play-off position, something Medo believes is still within the club’s reach.
“That’s what everyone is playing for,” he said. “I have been telling some of the boys to go game after game, not to look ahead further than the next one. We have been in a good spell and we need to continue with that.”
Wanderers’ transformation under Freedman in the last couple of months has been impressive, and Medo has his own theories on the reasons for the upturn in form.
“I have spoken to some of the boys and the training now and the training before is completely different,” he said. “The tempo is really high and the gaffer has done his best to get us in shape and make us ready for every game.
“The mentality has to be different too. Everyone has the winning mentality now.
“And when I came the first thing I said to my friends was that most of the players were used to playing in Premier League, so it is very different.
“I think that was a problem before, but now I think we are becoming a good team.”