FORMER Pars defender Sol Bamba has been backed to win his battle with cancer by his ex-East End boss.

Jim Leishman, and former team-mate, and current Dunfermline head coach, Stevie Crawford, are among a huge number of players, clubs and supporters who have offered their support to the Cardiff City player after his shock diagnosis.

Last Monday, the Bluebirds – where Bamba, who turned 36 yesterday (Wednesday), has played since 2016 – revealed that the 46-times capped Ivory Coast international had begun treatment for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

After beginning his career with Paris St Germain, but failing to make the breakthrough, Leishman signed the centre back in the summer of 2006.

He spent just over two years at East End – which included playing in the 2007 Scottish Cup final – before departing for Hibernian, beginning a journey that would also take him to Leicester City, Trabzonspor, Palermo, Leeds United and Cardiff.

“I got on great with him”, Leishman told Press Sport.

“For me, he was just top class. I didn’t get any trouble from him; I took a chance at the time and he never let me down.

“The ex-England manager, Sven-Göran Eriksson, said that, when he was at Leicester, Sol Bamba was the best debut he’d ever seen. That’s a big tribute to Sol.

“Sometimes he had the odd mistake, the odd bad game, but the majority of games he was really good for us.”

“He definitely had a talent; he was an athlete, big, strong, good in the tackle, good in the air.

“He looked good in training but he was only a young man at the time so it was a risk. But he was great.

“I’ve got good memories of the big fella. He’s a good lad and I just wish him all the very best in his recovery.

“He’s got a spirit about him so he’ll get there, guaranteed.”

Crawford, and his assistant head coach, Greg Shields, were both team-mates of Bamba’s and he said: “I was shocked when I heard it.

“At times like this, I just wish him my support for a full recovery, and I know Greg will be likewise. He was a top boy; he was a good character and, in these difficult times, we’re fully supportive of Sol and wish him a healthy recovery.

“He was popular. He was raw, I’ll give him that, he was raw and inexperienced when he was at Dunfermline. He was at the start of his playing career and he was very athletic, wholehearted, and he progressed and went on to play at a very high level.

“He’s had a very successful playing career and it’s a bit of a shock to see what he’s going to be going through in the upcoming months.

“He’s a fighter and, as a club, we’re fully behind the big man."