Steve Clarke is interested in becoming Leeds United’s next head coach, the YEP understands.
The former West Bromwich Albion boss – a leading candidate to replace David Hockaday – is emerging as an increasingly attractive option for Massimo Cellino as the United owner looks to appoint Hockaday’s replacement before the end of the international break.
Clarke and Leeds are believed to have had initial dialogue since Hockaday’s sacking on Thursday and the 51-year-old is looking for a return to coaching nine months after leaving his job at the Hawthorns.
He was considered for the manager’s post at Crystal Palace last week – a job which eventually went to ex-Leeds boss Neil Warnock – but sources close to Clarke say he is open to the idea of working in the Championship and operating alongside Cellino.
The former Liverpool and Chelsea assistant would come at a far higher cost than Hockaday and would insist on the appointment of Kevin Keen as his number two having used Keen as part of his backroom team during 18 months in charge of West Brom.
Cellino has indicated that he wants another British coach – or a coach who has worked at a high level of the English game – to take over at Elland Road, despite the failure of his experiment with Hockaday.
The Italian plucked Hockaday from obscurity in June, naming him as Brian McDermott’s successor a week before the start of pre-season, but Hockaday survived for just 70 days and six competitive games before losing his job after Wednesday’s League Cup defeat to Bradford City.
Neil Redfearn, United’s academy manager, has been given caretaker charge of the first-team squad for the third time in two-and-a-half years but he is not thought to be in the running for the permanent post.
Leeds have a two-week break after today’s clash with Bolton Wanderers and Cellino will push to finalise the selection of a new head coach before their Championship season resumes away at Birmingham City on September 13.
In an outspoken attack on Cellino, former United midfielder Johnny Giles warned on Thursday that the club would struggle to attract proven coaches due to the 58-year-old’s influence and methods.
Speaking to Irish radio station Newstalk, Giles said: “I don’t think anybody would be a good choice. This fella (Cellino) is a headbanger.
“I think he only employed that coach (Hockaday) so he was a frontman - so he could pick the team and bring the players in that he wanted. I think Hockaday had no say in it whatsoever and anybody that goes to Leeds would be mad to take the job.
“I’d say that any of the managers who are worth their salt wouldn’t touch that job. What the fella should do is make himself manager and do the job because that’s what he’s trying to do anyway.”
Cellino is due to travel to the USA for a few days after the summer transfer window closes on Monday night.
Leeds are in the process of tying up the signings of Flamengo midfielder Adryan and Nacional striker Brian Montenegro, both of whom are set to join United on season-long loans with a view to permanent moves next summer.