SLAVISA Jokanovic described his former colleague Scott Parker as his "rival" as the pair prepare to go head-to-head tomorrow.

Parker served as both captain and then first team coach to Jokanovic when both were at Fulham in spells between 2015 and 2018.

Jokanovic was sacked with the Cottagers struggling in the top flight, but Parker continued as assistant to new boss Claudio Ranieri.

Parker then stepped into the top job himself when Ranieri was dismissed a few months later.

After leaving Fulham, Jokanovic took charge of Al-Gharafa in Qatar, before returning to England to link up with Sheffield United this summer.

And he is set to face his former assistant for the first time tomorrow when the Blades tackle Parker's new employers Cherries at Vitality Stadium (3pm).

Speaking in his pre-match press conference about Parker, Jokanovic said: "He has done a good job and he did before with Fulham and I am happy with his progress in his coaching career.

“We have good relations, but he will do everything to win the game and I will do the same and that’s it.

“I have a good collaboration (with him) and he has grown up like a coach and is trying to make himself better every day.

“He was my captain (at Fulham) and was then my assistant and he is now my rival and it is part of the work. For me, it is not difficult and won’t be for him and it is normal."

He added: “We are in some competition and we both want to win. More or less, he knows the philosophy of how I want to play the game and my targets to achieving it in a game.

“He will follow a lot of the things we made all together and he may try and find my style with different players. But now he is my rival.

“Of course, he will try and check our weaknesses and I will try and see the weakness of the opposite team. This is a natural thing.

“I am not thinking about Scott Parker, but a Scott Parker team.”