Leeds United: Evans to seek ‘clarification’ before returning to work

Steve Evans at the end of the match against Preston.
Steve Evans at the end of the match against Preston.
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Steve Evans said he would look for clarification about his job before returning to work at Thorp Arch after admitting his time as Leeds United head coach was probably at an end.

Evans admitted to doubts about whether he would report into the club’s training ground this week, saying he would be wasting his time by planning pre-season or looking into player recruitment if Leeds opted to replace him as first-team boss.

Speaking after a 1-1 draw with Preston North End yeseterday, a result which brought United’s Championship season to a conclusion, Evans said he was heading back to his family home near Peterborough to “gather my thoughts” as he waited for United owner Massimo Cellino to confirm whether he would remain in charge next season.

Evans, whose current deal ends next month, conceded after Saturday’s trip to Deepdale that his expectation of securing an extension had diminished in the past seven days, convinced instead that Cellino would appoint a replacement ahead of the start of pre-season training.

The former Rotherham United manager has been linked with vacant jobs at Nottingham Forest, Celtic and Peterborough United in the past month and Evans said he would start looking at alternative options unless Leeds moved quickly to offer him an extension.

“I would have loved to have been at Thorp Arch on Monday, planning pre-season and the recruitment,” he said. “Maybe that will still happen but I’ll have a couple of days at home and gather my own thoughts.

“If the head coach is someone else, he won’t want me putting pre-season together or picking fixtures. He won’t want my signings to coming in the door. Everyone wants their own opportunity.

“It’ll be my intention to speak to the president, the club. All I need is a phone call to say ‘you’re the head coach’ and I’m in the car. But I have to have a timescale to show respect for some other great clubs. I’d be proud to work for them too.”

While Evans’ future is up in the air, striker Mirco Antenucci appeared to confirm his own departure from Elland Road in an Instagram post yesterday night.

The forward, who joined Leeds from Ternana in 2014 and made his 79th appearance as a substitute against Preston, is at the end of the two-year contract and has not been offered a new deal.

His time at Leeds was chequered by a goal-related clause in his contract which saw him dropped towards the end of last season and he was one of six foreign players who controversially withdrew through injury ahead of a league game at Charlton Athletic a year ago, a move which was widely seen as an attempt to undermine ex-head coach Neil Redfearn.

Leeds have not officially announced Antenucci’s departure but the 31-year-old’s Instagram post said: “You (the fans) were always great with me. (It) has been an honour and a privilege to have worn this historic T-shirt and trod Elland Road. This was an incredible lifetime and football experience.

“Sometimes there were misunderstandings as in all the best families but I think it’s normal.

“There were positive and negative moments of joy and disappointment. I always gave 100 per cent and never spared for this shirt.”

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