Adam Clayton today rejected claims that the long wait to see a new manager appointed at Leeds United had contributed to their disappointing Championship results.
But the midfielder believes confirmation of Simon Grayson’s replacement will settle the dressing room at Elland Road and help revive the club’s bid to qualify for the play-offs.
Former Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers boss Neil Warnock looks set to be named as Leeds’ next manager after travelling to Monaco for talks with chairman Ken Bates yesterday.
Warnock, 63, has long been seen as the leading candidate for the post at Elland Road due to his experience and an impressive track record which shows recent promotions with Sheffield United and QPR.
Leeds’ chances of finishing in the Championship’s top six have lessened in the past week after injury-time defeats to Brighton and Coventry City, and back-to-back losses halted a plan to appoint caretaker Neil Redfearn as manager until the end of the term.
Clayton denied that the absence of a permanent boss was to blame for the club’s fall to 11th in the table, saying: “I don’t think that’s affected us as players.
“Redders’ preparation for the games has been brilliant and his training’s been great. It’s nothing to do with that but the results haven’t gone for us, like they don’t sometimes in football.
“But it’s nice to have a bit of stability and if the club were to say ‘this person’s the manager now’ then everyone can get their heads down.
“Maybe it does need sorted and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.”
Redfearn’s four-match spell as caretaker began with a 3-0 win at Bristol City on February 4, and Leeds gave him three more matches to stake a claim for the manager’s job on a longer-term basis.
But criticism of the delay in appointing a permanent replacement for Grayson intensified after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to bottom-of-the-table Coventry, and United responded by turning their attention to Warnock on Thursday.
Leeds were due to play Doncaster Rovers at Elland Road today in the first of 15 remaining Championship matches and their need for results became desperate in midweek after a six-point gap opened up between them and sixth position.
Clayton said: “It has been difficult because we didn’t expect to lose the games we’ve lost, or to be on the run we’re on.
“But we’re still in there with a fighting chance and we all need to get our heads up.
“I don’t see why not. We’re a team who are capable of going on a run. We proved that earlier in the season, so there’s no reason why not.”
Warnock’s arrival at Elland Road would see Redfearn return to his previous position of reserve and under-18s coach.
The 46-year-old admitted he would hold no grudges if he failed to secure the manager’s job and promised to support Grayson’s replacement, saying: “If it’s someone else, good luck to them and I’ll wish them all the best.”