Steve Evans said tonight that he was “carrying on as people would expect me to” in his role as Leeds United head coach and admitted he was clinging to hope that a board meeting next week might keep him in a job.
Evans was back at Thorp Arch on Monday morning, despite insisting last weekend that he was in two minds over whether to return to work after the end of the season arrived without a final decision on his future.
He went back to his family home near Peterborough after a 1-1 draw at Preston on Saturday, saying he needed to “gather my thoughts”, but he has refused to accept defeat in his drawn-out fight to stay on as United boss next season.
Owner Massimo Cellino, who spoke with Evans at length on April 29 but has not followed up that meeting with a final decision, told the Mirror over the weekend that he was in no rush to confirm Evans’ fate with his contract due to run until June 30.
Cellino revealed that he had called a meeting of United’s six-man board of directors for next Wednesday “to plan for next season”.
The Italian, however, gave a fresh indication that Evans would be leaving Elland Road by saying yesterday that the 53-year-old “did the job he was taken on for”.
“Steve did the job he was taken on for,” Cellino said. “He signed a contract until the end of the current season. Now I need to know from the shareholders what programme they want from me for next season. Believe me, I’m not ready at this moment to give any answer. I need one or two weeks to cool down and focus better.”
Evans insisted he was willing to wait for Leeds’ board meeting to take place before demanding an answer from Cellino, despite heavy hints that the Italian plans to change head coach for the sixth time in little over two years.
Evans told the YEP: “I read that the president’s holding a board meeting next week and you would assume that the head coach’s job will be discussed there.
“It’s sensible for me to wait for the outcome of that and to see what the decision is. It might be that the president’s undecided or wants to take some opinions from the rest of the board. I’d hope that some of them would make the case for giving me a chance.
“Once that meeting’s done, we’d be at the stage of saying ‘right, let’s have an answer.’ And as I’ve said before, if the answer’s no then I’ll accept that. I’ll be disappointed but I’m big enough to take it.
“In the meantime I’m going to doing my job, looking at analysis, thinking about pre-season and looking about players because if I am going to stay as head coach, I can’t afford to be behind on any of that. It’s like that old saying – fail to plan, plan to fail.”
Evans hinted at the end of Leeds’ 1-1 draw at Preston that he might stay away from Thorp Arch while Cellino continued to delay an announcement on his future, saying: “If the head coach is someone else, he won’t want me putting pre-season together or picking fixtures. He won’t want my signings to coming in the door. Everyone wants their own opportunity.”
But speaking today Evans, who has been scouting in Scotland for the past two days, said: “I was up early on Monday morning to get back into the training ground.
“I’m carrying on as people would expect me to because I’ve got a contract, I’m in the job and I want to be ready to run with pre-season and everything else if I get the call.”