READING ACADEMY boss Eamonn Dolan is emerging as a leading candidate to become head coach at Leeds United – with the club expected to step up their attempts towards concluding their search today.
Several bookmakers have installed Dolan as favourite for the vacant post ahead of ex-Watford coach Dave Hockaday and former Whites chief Gary McAllister, in what represents another intriguing development in quest to find a senior coach to oversee United’s first-team squad next season.
United owner Massimo Cellino, who was in Italy yesterday attempting to finalise the sale of Cagliari, is believed to have held talks with three domestic candidates over the weekend, having expressed his desire to appoint a British coach.
Once progress has been made regarding Cagliari’s sale, Cellino is expected to switch his attentions firmly towards identifying his choice for head coach at Leeds. Cellino has done plenty of research regarding identifying prospective British coaching candidates and is believed to be an admirer of the job Dolan has done at Reading.
Speaking recently, Cellino said: “I have always said I wanted a British coach. I am a man of my word and that is still the case.
“I want someone to take care of the preparation of the team, the training, the tactics, not the recruitment or the contracts – which I will take care of.
“The job is a coach, not a manager, which is an important difference.”
Dolan’s brother Pat is the agent and close friend of former United boss Brian McDermott, who parted company with the club on May 30 with United revealing their desire to implement a new coaching structure at Elland Road.
Dolan’s club Reading are refusing to comment regarding the situation surrounding Dolan, understood to be under contract at the Madejski Stadium.
The 46-year-old has been at Reading in his current post for almost a decade and earned a highly-regarded reputation for his work in the academy, where he has brought through a number of players to the first-team squad including Jem Karacan, Alex McCarthy, Alex Pearce and Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Last season, under Dolan’s management, the Royals Under-21s lifted the Premier League Cup while the Under-18s reached the
FA Youth Cup semi-final.
Dolan has experience in regards to running a first-team side, working under a director of football in Steve Perryman at Exeter City in 2003-04 when the Grecians narrowly missed out on reaching the Conference play-offs.
The Irishman left the Devon club to move to Reading in October 2004.
The situation at Dolan’s club Reading remains unclear with Indian businessman Mohit Burman, who part owns Indian Premier League cricket team Kings XI Punjab, having pulled out of the running to take over at the Berkshire club.
Burman has reportedly stepped back from negotiations following discussions with Begbies Traynor Group (BTG), the corporate rescue and recovery company who are handling the sale of the club.
BTG were appointed last week on behalf of Reading and Vibrac Corporation, the lender who are owed £10 million by the club.
Meanwhile, the winding-up petition hanging over United will be heard at the high court in London today after a preliminary hearing was adjourned yesterday.
Former owners Sports Capital brought the case against the club in April over an outstanding debt of around £950,000.
Rudy Austin played the full 90 minutes of Jamaica’s 8-0 friendly loss to France on Sunday evening, Les Blues’ final warm-up game before the World Cup.