Leeds United: Redfearn set for first team duty

Neil Redfearn
Neil Redfearn
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Neil Redfearn has been offered the chance to rejoin Leeds United’s backroom team for Friday’s clash with Rotherham United amid speculation linking him to the manager’s job at York City.

In a move which could dampen interest in the club’s academy boss, Redfearn was invited to return to the dug-out by head coach Darko Milanic after briefly emerging as a contender for the vacancy at York.

City’s board identified Redfearn as a potential replacement for Nigel Worthington, who resigned as the League Two club’s manager on Monday, but have not followed up initial interest with a formal request to speak to him.

Leeds seem reluctant to lose Redfearn and are wary of approaches for him having overlooked the 49-year-old for the head coach’s position at Elland Road last month.

Redfearn staked his claim by amassing 10 points from four games as caretaker following the sacking of David Hockaday but owner Massimo Cellino opted to bring in Slovenian Milanic from Sturm Graz on a two-year deal instead. Cellino wanted Redfearn to work closely with Milanic, saying: “The coaches must work together.

“Darko is not the manager, he’s one of a team, and Neil is one of the team too. Neil is part of the environment.”

Milanic stated initially that Redfearn would be part of his coaching team on matchdays but Leeds’ academy boss was not involved in his first three games in charge. Redfearn is thought to have taken the view that Milanic needed space to settle into the role of head coach and implement his own ideas after securing a job in England for the first time.

But the ex-Barnsley striker spoke publicly about his desire to work as a first-team boss after completing his third spell as caretaker at Elland Road.

He stepped into the breach after Hockaday’s reign as head coach ended just 70 days into the job on August 28. Wins over Bolton Wanderers, Bournemouth and Huddersfield Town and a draw away at Birmingham City saw Redfearn maintain an unbeaten record during his temporary spell in charge.

United, however, are keen to retain a figure who has been central to the success of their academy since arriving in 2009.

Milanic is understood to have discussed the situation with Cellino, who is currently away in Italy on business, and asked Redfearn to resume more high-profile coaching duties alongside his academy job ahead of Friday’s Championship clash with Rotherham. York, meanwhile, could announce Worthington’s successor later today with former Scunthorpe United boss Russ Wilcox a strong favourite.

Kemar Roofe celebrates scoring Leeds United's equaliser.
Leeds United v Newport County.  Carabao Cup, second round.  Elland Road.
22 August 2017.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

RECAP: Leeds United 5 Newport County 1: How Whites dismantled League Two opponents at Elland Road