Leeds United: Boss Evans is focused on role with Whites

Steve Evans
Steve Evans
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Steve Evans last night moved to distance himself from the Celtic manager’s job as he urged Leeds United to take “an opportunity for stability” by extending his contract as head coach.

Steve Evans last night moved to distance himself from the Celtic manager’s job as he urged Leeds United to take “an opportunity for stability” by extending his contract as head coach.

Odds on Evans becoming Celtic’s new boss have tumbled since the Scottish club announced on Wednesday that they would part company with Ronny Deila at the end of the season.

Lifelong Celtic fan Evans, however, said his attention was fixed on earning a new contract at Elland Road and claimed his current post was the “only job at that appeals to me”. The 53-year-old Scot will be in the market for a new club this summer unless United owner Massimo Cellino decides to back him and renew a short-term deal which expires in June.

Prior to news of Deila’s planned exit from Parkhead, Evans was already being linked with the vacancy at managerless Championship side Nottingham Forest.

His reputation has been enhanced by a 35-game reign at Leeds in which the club have moved comfortably clear of the Championship’s relegation zone.

In spite of that, Cellino appears to be hinting at another change of first-team boss – the seventh of his two-year tenure as majority shareholder.

Simon Grayson, who was sacked in February 2012, is the last manager to see out two full seasons with Leeds and Evans said the Yorkshire club had “needed stability for some time”. Next season will be United’s seventh successive year in the Championship and a 13th outside the Premier League.

“This club needs stability,” Evans said. “It’s needed it for some time. It has an opportunity to have some stability now.

“I’ve never hidden the fact that this is a club I’d love to be in charge of next season. I know what the pressure will be and the remit that comes with it but I’m as confident as I can be that if I get the support from the president, a promotion campaign will follow.

“The only job that appeals to me at the moment is being head coach of Leeds United. I want to be the Leeds United head coach going forward. I’ve never hidden that but the final decision lies with someone else. I’ll be employed next season in football but I’d love to be here.”

Celtic and Deila agreed to part company in the wake of a Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Rangers on Sunday. Former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes, an ex-Celtic player, is the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Deila.

Evans’ odds have dropped from 66/1 to 5/1 in the past 48 hours but he refused to fuel speculation as he prepared for tomorrow’s game against Hull City, Leeds’ penultimate away fixture.

He described Celtic as an “iconic club” but said all other managerial opportunities would be disregarded by him if Cellino stepped forward with a new deal.

“It’s flattering for any coach to be linked to any job but you can’t let it take away focus from the job in hand. Our sole focus is Hull,” Evans said. “Celtic are an iconic football club but Leeds United are an iconic football club. My only focus is on representing this famous badge.

“I’ll always be a Celtic supporter. I’ve supported them since I was two – and that’s not two years old, that’s two seconds old! You’re born a Celtic supporter, the same as Leeds supporters. That’s why there’s so many of them and that’s why they’re both great clubs. But I’m the head coach of this great club and that’s the only focus I’ve got.”

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