GARRY MONK and Tony Pulis could not have been more different at the Riverside – and the contrasting styles of management will be there for all to see from the old and the new Middlesbrough manager on Tuesday night.

One of the biggest criticisms levelled at Monk during his time in charge at Boro was that he rarely, if ever, got animated, lacking passion on the sidelines, even when Middlesbrough struggled to find the form under him required to break into the promotion hunt.

That is one of the main reasons why the sight of 60-year-old Pulis bouncing around, orchestrating things from his area, has been well received since replacing him on Boxing Day.

The differences in style have been apparent in Middlesbrough’s media suites too, where Monk, who turns 39 tomorrow, would be very straight and wary of saying too much, whereas the more experienced Pulis has tended to just say what he thinks and in a likeable manner.

There was a different side to Monk. When the cameras were switched off, and there was often just The Northern Echo left asking the questions, he was quite engaging, telling stories about his playing days when he opened up more, cracking a few jokes too.

Had he shown a bit more of his human side to the public through the media or on the touchline then it might have bought him more time with the fans and Gibson; it might have even sparked better performances.

Monk ran out of time quickly on Teesside. What seemed the ideal appointment last summer soon descended into an unsuccessful short-term stint in which the former Leeds boss was unable to turn them into automatic promotion contenders.

In fact he was sacked with Middlesbrough still sitting three points outside of the top six despite a pre-Christmas victory at Sheffield Wednesday on December 23. The timing of his departure was a surprise, but there were signs that his departure was on the cards.

Chairman Steve Gibson was questioning the tempo and direction of the team’s play, given how a summer of hefty spending to the tune of more than £40m had not even seen Monk settle on a preferred starting line-up.

He only won ten of his 23 Championship matches in charge even though Middlesbrough were billed as the title favourites before a ball had been kicked in August and Gibson had voiced an ambition to “smash the Championship”.

While things didn’t turn out for Monk in the North-East, it doesn’t make him a bad manager. He had a good spell at Swansea, who he kept up and guided them to a strong finish before his departure, while he had Leeds on the brink of a Championship play-off place sooner than expected.

It was also easy to forget Middlesbrough had just endured one of the most difficult periods in recent years, when the fall-out of the Premier League and the fractured dressing room left behind by Aitor Karanka’s final year in charge was always going to take more repairing than many would have envisaged.

Players, and regulars previously, like George Friend, Daniel Ayala and even Patrick Bamford – who had two years in the wilderness after unsuccessful loan spells – had seen their confidences shot. They have only just started to show signs of their best again under Pulis.

Monk was unable to come up with a way to address that, and his tinkering only seemed to cause more problems, and he will probably accept Pulis’ accusation that the squad he inherited from him was imbalanced despite the spending spree.

When he took over at Middlesbrough it was suggested by many Leeds followers that Monk would struggle without having one of his trusted allies alongside him, Pep Clotet. The Spaniard took on the job at Oxford instead.

Now the pair are reunited at Birmingham, alongside James Beattie and Daryl Flahavan, so it will be hoped having his preferred backroom team around him once again can bring better times to St Andrew’s.

The Blues, in deep relegation trouble and sitting third from bottom ahead of Boro’s visit on Tuesday night, are confident he can deliver, highlighted by the three-and-a-half year contract they have handed him.

Monk constantly spoke about striving to improve, so he should have learned a lot from his experience at Middlesbrough, where he was always confident he would bring success before he lost his job.

The Birmingham challenge is completely different, and it will all start at St Andrew’s with a pre-match handshake with his successor Pulis.