Leeds United: Evans says he’s willing to bide time over job

Steve Evans
Steve Evans
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Steve Evans said he had no intention of demanding an immediate decision on his position as head coach after Leeds United secured their Championship status with a 3-2 victory over Reading.

Evans insisted he was happy to leave Massimo Cellino to resolve his future in “a timeframe which suits him”, despite delivering on his initial target of keeping Leeds clear of relegation.

The 53-year-old Scot – Cellino’s sixth first-team boss in two years as owner – was given that aim by the Italian when he replaced Uwe Rosler as United’s head coach in mid-October.

Evans, whose short-term contract runs to the end of June but has the option of a second year in charge, repeatedly stated that he would only seek talks about his job once Leeds were mathematically assured of safety but he revealed after Saturday’s win over Reading that discussions were not scheduled for this week.

“I’ve got no plans before we play Wolverhampton Wanderers (tomorrow),” Evans said. “Then we focus on a derby with Hull City on Saturday.

“If my concentration’s anywhere other than on those games it would be wrong. Let’s deal with Wolverhampton Wanderers, let’s deal with the derby and from there on I’ll be available to meet the president for his decision.

“We don’t mince our words here – there’s one owner, one boss and one decision-maker. When he’s ready to make that decision, Steve Evans will go to the meeting. You have to let the people responsible make the decision in a timeframe which suits them but I’ve never hidden the fact that I want to be Leeds United head coach.”

United have only four games of the season remaining and Evans indicated that he would be willing for talks with Cellino to wait until after the campaign ends on May 7.

“Obviously time is rapidly passing us by now,” he said. “When do we finish, in three weeks? So if we don’t get a decision this week or next week, it’s going to be the week after.

“For me it’s about working to a plan with the club, making sure you’re onside with that plan and making sure they’re onside with what you want to do. Those conversations become two-way – provided the senior partner, which is Leeds United, want you.”

Leeds climbed to 12th in the Championship after a late Chris Wood strike saw off Brian McDermott’s Reading, and Evans remains intent on claiming a top-10 finish.

“I made a crazy statement a while go that top 10 was the objective,” he said. “We’re three points away from 10th in the table now so we know how important Wolves and Hull are. If we can get results in those games, whether it’s me or someone else in charge next season, there’s positivity if you finish the season in the top 10.”

Evans, meanwhile, confirmed that goalkeeping coach Richard Hartis had been offered a post within the England set-up after it emerged last week that the 48-year-old has resigned from his role at Elland Road.

Hartis is set to quit Leeds at the end of the season, less than a year after he arrived at United from Cardiff City. He is expected to become a youth-team coach at international level.

Evans said: “My understanding is that he’s been offered an opportunity with England.

“That’s Richard decision, not a club decision, but anyone who gets an opportunity to work for their country, it’s a huge honour and it shows you the quality of the guy we’ve got here.

“Whether he’s 100 per cent leaving I don’t know, I leave that to other people, but he’s been a valuable member of staff since I walked in.”

Kyle Bartley

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