Leeds United: Hockaday still favourite to take over the Elland Road hot seat

Massimo Cellino.
Massimo Cellino.
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Dave Hockaday remains the short-priced favourite to be named as Leeds United’s new head coach, with the club having suffered a fresh blow in their pursuit of Eamonn Dolan.

An unnamed Thai investor is closing in on acquiring Reading and it is expected that Royals academy manager and United target Dolan will be offered a new deal in a bid to keep him in Berkshire.

Reading have been forthright in their desire to keep highly-rated coach Dolan, 46, with director of football Nicky Hammond stating the club’s determination to keep hold of the Irishman in a statement seven days ago in what effectively amounted to a ‘hands-off’ warning.

Dolan has three seasons remaining on his Royals deal and he is now likely to be offered fresh terms by the Berkshire club in a further bid to repel any further potential advances from Leeds. Securing the services of a new head coach is at the top of a lengthy list of priorities for Cellino, now fully concentrating on United business after completing his sale of Cagliari.

Cellino has enquired about Dolan and is also believed to have spoken to Hockaday, 56, who has formerly held coaching roles at the likes of Watford, MK Dons, Southampton and Leicester City.

The Italian has previously confirmed that he will appoint a British coach and not an overseas one, while vowing not to make a ‘wrong choice’ in his appointment.

With Leeds first-team players due to reconvene for the start of pre-season training on June 26, time is of the essence for Cellino in his successful search for a new head coach, with the club also yet to enter the transfer market so far this close season.

Meanwhile, the interim freezing order on all of former United managing director David Haigh’s global assets expires today when the matter is expected to return to court in Dubai.

Earlier this month, a judge granted an interim worldwide freezing order on the assets of the former GFH Capital (GFHC) executive following a hearing at the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts.

In the civil case hearing before Deputy Chief Justice Sir John Chadwick, who was presiding via video link from London, lawyers for GFHC also applied for an interim search order on his assets, which was also granted.

GFH is accusing Haigh of creating almost £3m of false invoices during his final 19 months as deputy chief executive of the bank’s private equity arm, GFH Capital.

GFH alleges that Haigh, 36, falsified payments to four separate parties for a range of services, some of them related to his time as managing director at Leeds and GFH’s reign as owner of the club.

Sources close to Haigh have repeatedly stated that he would “vigorously contest every one” of GFH’s claims.

Leeds United goalscorer, Samuel Saiz. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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