Leeds United: McAllister in the frame for second spell at Elland Road

Gary McAllister.
Gary McAllister.
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Gary McAllister is vying for a second spell as Leeds United boss amid expectations that the club’s former player and manager will be interviewed by Massimo Cellino today.

McAllister, 49, is reported to be one of three domestic candidates lined up for talks with Cellino later as United’s owner attempts to conclude his search for Brian McDermott’s replacement at Elland Road.

Cellino planned to meet with a group of British coaches this weekend after confirming that McDermott’s successor would not be a foreign appointment.

Leeds are in the market for a new head coach after parting company with McDermott last Friday, 14 months after the 53-year-old took charge, and contact between McAllister and Cellino during the past few weeks appears to have opened the door to the Scot for a second time.

McAllister – a hugely-respected personality at Leeds on account of role in Howard Wilkinson’s title-winning squad – managed Leeds for most of 2008, taking the club to the League One play-off final that summer.

He was sacked by then chairman Ken Bates after exactly 50 competitive games, the result of five straight defeats before Christmas and an FA Cup second-round exit at the hands of non-league Histon.

The retired midfielder took up coaching roles with Middlesbrough and Aston Villa following his dismissal at Elland Road and has worked recently as a co-commentator with BT Sport.

He and Cellino are believed to have met at York racecourse on May 16 when the two men shared a corporate box owned by Steve Parkin, the Yorkshire businessman who has attempted to buy Leeds on a number of occasions.

McAllister, pictured above, and Cellino also crossed paths last weekend, shortly after Leeds and McDermott agreed a deal to sever McDermott’s contract. McAllister was unavailable for comment last night.

The precise identity of the three British coaches singled out by Cellino remains a secret but Dave Hockaday, the ex-Forest Green Rovers manager who has been heavily linked with the vacant post at Leeds, again refused to rule himself in or out of contention yesterday.

Hockaday told the Yorkshire Evening Post that he could “only say ‘no comment’” following a week of persistent betting on him to land to the job of handling United’s senior squad.

The 56-year-old is an obscure option with a profile far below the level of McAllister’s.

Cellino explained the remit for McDermott’s replacement earlier this week, saying: “I am meeting three British coaches for talks and want to get someone in place soon.

“I have always said I wanted a British coach. I am a man of my word and that is still the case.

“I want someone to take care of the preparation of the team, the training, the tactics, not the recruitment or the contracts – which I will take care of.

“The job is a coach, not a manager, which is an important difference.”

Cellino, meanwhile, has lined up a fresh deal to sell his Italian club Cagliari following the collapse of a mooted takeover by US investors.

A £36m bid for Cagliari made by former Inter Milan executive Tommaso Giulini has been accepted by Cellino.

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