Left-back Stephen Warnock said Neil Redfearn could count on the full support of Leeds United’s players as Redfearn pushed to seal his appointment as head coach before Saturday’s game at Cardiff City.
Warnock welcomed the move to promote Redfearn from his academy job in the wake of Darko Milanic’s sacking, saying the 49-year-old appeared to hold the respect of owner Massimo Cellino and the entire first-team squad.
Cellino dismissed Milanic after 32 days in charge on Saturday, ending the Slovenian’s brief reign following a 2-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers and six league matches without a win.
United’s president immediately announced that Redfearn would replace Milanic on a permanent basis – the third full-time head coach employed by Leeds this season – but Redfearn is yet to finalise the details of a new contract with the club.
He met with Cellino on Monday afternoon and verbally agreed to take the job on, and the former Barnsley midfielder initially told the Yorkshire Evening Post that he expected the terms of his deal to be formally put in place after this weekend’s visit to Cardiff.
“I don’t think anything will be finalised this week, to be honest,” Redfearn said.
“I’m very mindful of this game on Saturday. I want to get this week done, the training right and for the lads to be upbeat.”
Redfearn, however, has since informed Cellino that he wants to see his appointment confirmed before Leeds travel to south Wales.
United’s long-serving youth-team coach sought and received assurances from Cellino during talks on Monday, including the promise of a return to his existing job as academy manager if the head coach’s role fails to work out and a contract reflecting the new and more high-profile role. Redfearn is also looking to bring in an assistant boss but he said that he and Cellino would look to compensate for his move away from the academy by “restructuring from within.”
Redfearn has effectively been in charge of the first team since the resumption of training at the start of this week, and Warnock welcomed his impending appointment saying: “He’s obviously got the respect of the chairman (Cellino) and the respect of the players.
“We’ve worked under him quite a few times, the lads who’ve been here for a longer period.
“He’s someone the lads enjoy working for and hopefully he can get the best out of the team and
turn things the right way.”
Milanic became the shortest-serving boss in Leeds’ history on Saturday when Cellino sacked him less than five weeks after appointing the former Sturm Graz coach on a two-year deal worth around £400,000 a season.
The 46-year-old took three points from his six games as boss, seven fewer than Redfearn amassed in four matches as caretaker following the dismissal of David Hockaday in August.
Leeds are 18th in the Championship table and without a win since September 22 but Warnock admitted that Milanic’s departure had come as a shock, despite the recent form.
“It’s a surprise to everyone, the way it’s unfolded,” Warnock said.
“We know the results haven’t been going too well but whenever a new manager comes in, there’s a transitional period where sometimes results don’t go the way they should.
“But the chairman (Cellino) has decided to change it and we have to deal with that and get on with that.”