Leeds United: McDermott poised for key talks with Cellino

Stephen Warnock celebrates his goal with teammates. PIC: Tony Johnson
Stephen Warnock celebrates his goal with teammates. PIC: Tony Johnson
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Brian McDermott and Massimo Cellino will meet tomorrow for the first time since Cellino’s botched attempt to sack him, with Leeds United’s manager increasingly determined to carve out a relationship with the Italian.

Cellino is flying in from Miami to attend United’s Championship game at Brighton, the start of an important week in which the Cagliari owner expects the Football League to approve his 75 per cent takeover of Leeds.

The 57-year-old businessman is expected to speak with McDermott at The Amex Stadium tomorrow evening and they are likely to hold more extensive talks towards the end of the week with both United’s boss and Cellino apparently willing to resolve their initial differences.

McDermott, whose side gave their season another shot in the arm with a 2-1 win at Yeovil Town on Saturday, said: “From what I can gather he’s coming to the game against Brighton. Then hopefully we’ll sit down and have a conversation, have a meal together. We’ve had one meeting already a couple of weeks ago but for me now this is important. The only thing that concerns me is trying to be Leeds United manager for as long as I can, and for us to be successful.”

Cellino’s negative view of McDermott appears to have relented since his bid to sack McDermott on January 31 provoked angry protests against him from United’s support. Speaking yesterday, Cellino said: “I want to get to know the manager and help him. I hope he can help me as well. We’re going to work together.”

Cellino will meet with Football League officials on Wednesday and press the governing body to sanction his buy-out of Gulf Finance House, United’s owner since December 2012.

GFH announced on Friday that managing director David Haigh is to become chief executive under Cellino while Salah Nooruddin will remain as chairman. McDermott said: “David Haigh is staying on as CEO and he’ll concentrate solely on doing on his work for Leeds United. We need somebody that I can speak to and someone I can get decisions from.

“From (Cellino’s) point of view, he saw so much more about this club from what happened on Friday (the day McDermott was sacked) and what happened against Huddersfield. He knows what an important club Leeds United are. Until you’re amongst it and feel it, you don’t know.”

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