Neil Warnock has endorsed Leicester’s decision to play at Cardiff on Saturday following the death of club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha – but admits he does not know what atmosphere to expect at the game.
Leicester will return to action for the first time since the helicopter crash which killed Srivaddhanaprabha and four others just yards from the King Power Stadium following the game against West Ham last Saturday.
The Leicester players had a close bond with the popular Thai owner, but have decided to play the game on what will be an emotional afternoon for them, the management staff and the club’s supporters.
“Originally I didn’t think the game would go ahead, and if I’m totally honest I was hoping it wasn’t going to,” Cardiff manager Warnock said at his pre-match press conference.
“Monday and Tuesday this week, it was too emotional.
“But I understand now where they (Leicester) are and I think it’s a good decision to go ahead with it now, because you’ve got to move on and you’ve got to get people back to normality as soon as possible.
“I think if I’d been the manager of Leicester, I’d have wanted the lads to play to get their mind on other things because it’s such turmoil.
“And I think Vichai would have wanted that as well, he wanted his lads to play football.”
All Premier League matches this weekend will be preceded by a minute’s silence and players will wear black armbands.
Cardiff supporters also plan to honour Srivaddhanaprabha by unfurling a giant flag with a Thai emblem on it and passing it over the stands to their Leicester counterparts.
“There will be tributes. Our chairman wanted to do a tribute from Vincent (Tan, Cardiff’s owner) and everyone at the club, we’ll be having the minute’s silence together, the chairman is going to lay a wreath and there will be moments to reflect for everyone,” Warnock said.
“I think it will be a strange atmosphere before kick-off, and I don’t think anybody knows what sort of game it will be.
“I haven’t got a clue what to expect, you’d probably have to ask me after the game.
“But their players and our players will appreciate they can give 90 minutes and get it out of their system.
“We have had to remind the players that we’ve got to prepare for a game, but it seems irrelevant talking about it when bigger things have happened this week.”
Warnock said his players and staff had learned of the helicopter crash as they flew back from last Saturday’s league game at Liverpool.
“It was an eerie situation,” he said. “Life is on an edge and sometimes you take things for granted.
“I’ve not known a week like it, and it’s been difficult for our players as well as the Leicester players.
“It’s like anything else in life, some lads can cope with tragedies and some find it very difficult.
“Things trigger memories in their lives, what’s happened in the past, and it does rake over old stories.”