Leeds United: Evans predicts warm welcome for ex-boss McDermott

Reading manager Brian McDermott.
Reading manager Brian McDermott.
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Leeds United head coach Steve Evans wants the club’s former manager, Brian McDermott, to receive a warm welcome on his return to Elland Road on Saturday.

Evans said McDermott is owed a good reception from United’s crowd when he appears at the stadium for the first time since his acrimonious departure from the club in 2014.

McDermott, who is now in charge of fellow Championship side Reading, was the first boss to part company with Leeds in the aftermath of Massimo Cellino’s takeover of the Yorkshire club.

The 55-year-old, who Cellino infamously tried to sack before his buy-out was complete, left United in May 2014, less than two months after Cellino took control at Elland Road and 12 months into a three-year contract.

McDermott’s solitary campaign as manager saw Leeds climb into the play-offs around Christmas but the club’s campaign collapsed amid severe off-field turmoil as previous owner GFH worked to sell a majority stake in United to Cellino.

The relationship between McDermott and Cellino broke down badly at the time but the pair have spoken since.

Evans, who is the sixth first-team boss under Cellino at Elland Road, said: “Brian will come back and he’ll get a wonderful ovation from the Leeds United supporters I’m sure. So he should.

“I’ve known him a lot of years and we’ll have a glass of wine afterwards.

“But I want it to be a glass of wine with a smile for me after a good performance.”

Leeds and Reading are tied on 51 points and on the brink of mathematical safety from relegation.

McDermott’s side lost to a 94th-minute goal at league leaders Middlesbrough on Tuesday night as Leeds were winning 2-1 against Birmingham City.

Evans expects midfielder Liam Bridcutt, who has missed United’s last two games with a thigh strain, to train this morning and put himself in contention for Saturday’s match.