Talks between Massimo Cellino and Brian McDermott about the future of Leeds United’s players and McDermott’s own position as manager have been delayed until after the club’s game against Birmingham City.
Cellino and McDermott were scheduled to speak this week about the Italian’s plans for his first summer as owner of Leeds but they are now expected to meet before United’s final match of the Championship season, at home to Derby County next Saturday.
Cellino, who completed his 75 per cent buy-out of Leeds almost a month ago, is back in England after spending time at his home in Miami, and staff at Elland Road are awaiting the first telling signs of change with a difficult season almost complete.
Nine of United’s senior players are out of contract in July and young left-back Charlie Taylor, who is currently on loan at League Two side Fleetwood Town, is also near the end of his deal.
McDermott said he was “certain” about which squad members should be released and which of those with longer contracts he would try to move on, but he is yet to speak to individual players directly and is still waiting for clarification from Cellino about his own job.
The 53-year-old is 12 months into a three-year contract at Elland Road but Leeds have struggled during the second half of this term, and a prolonged patch of poor results could tempt Cellino into a change ahead of his first full season in charge.
Sacking McDermott would cost United more than £1m and Cellino, who attempted to remove the ex-Reading boss from his post before his takeover was complete in January, has taken time to consider his options since sealing his buy-out of Gulf Finance House on April 7.
McDermott, however, expects his future to become clear soon and is likely to discover Cellino’s intentions when they meet in person next week. Asked if discussions with Cellino had taken place, McDermott said: “Not yet. We’re just concentrating on this game (at Birmingham).
“We’ll concentrate on everything else afterwards.”
He admitted that he was still unsure of remaining as manager, saying: “That decision is going to be up to Massimo. All I’m doing is concentrating on this game and nothing else. Nothing else can detract from that.
“It’s difficult and obviously (your future) does cross your mind. But that’s not in my hands really, that’s for someone else. It’ll happen sooner rather than later I’m sure.
“There’s a massive amount of work to be done here, full stop. We’ve got to get going.”
Cellino was quoted in a recent interview as saying he would consider himself a failure if he was unable to guide Leeds into the Premier League by the end of the 2015-16 season.
“I think that’s realistic,” McDermott said.
“There’s an awful lot to be done in the summer and an awful lot to be done next season but that’s realistic.”
Despite the doubt surrounding him, McDermott hopes to finalise some of United’s pre-season programme before their final-day clash with Derby amid suggestions that Leeds will spend parts of the summer in Sardinia, the home of Cellino’s Italian club Cagliari.
“We know what pre-season will look like, the schedule,” McDermott said. “What we don’t know is where we’re going to go, and we need to arrange games. That’s got to be done and it’ll probably be done next week.”