Leeds United: Milanic in Frame

Giuseppe Bellusci celebrates scoring against Bournemouth. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
Giuseppe Bellusci celebrates scoring against Bournemouth. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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Neil Redfearn said he would be handing over Leeds United’s squad in a “far better position” than he found them in last month after a barnstorming fightback secured three points at Bournemouth.

Redfearn is nearing the end of his third spell as caretaker boss amid strong suggestions that Slovenian Darko Milanic, the current manager of Sturm Graz, is in line to take charge as head coach at Elland Road.

Milanic has been identified by Leeds owner Massimo Cellino as his preferred replacement for David Hockaday and the 46-year-old is understood to have spoken to Cellino on Sunday.

His Austrian club, however, denied that Leeds had approached them to discuss the Milanic’s availability, with a spokesman telling the YEP: “There’s been no contact between Sturm Graz and Leeds United.”

Milanic is a former Yugoslavia and Slovenia international who made his name as a coach during five years in charge of Maribor, a club where he won numerous trophies.

Cellino missed United’s dramatic 3-1 victory at Bournemouth but he appears to be closing in on his next appointment. Redfearn – Leeds’ academy manager – said he was yet to learn if he would be in charge for Saturday’s Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield Town but his side recovered from a goal down to win his third match as caretaker at Dean Court last night.

“It’s in a far better position now and that’s the most important thing,” Redfearn said. “The lads are playing with confidence and with mental toughness.

And he praised keeper Marco Silvestri whose first-half saves prevented Bournemouth from stretching their lead.

“For the first half hour they murdered us,” Redfearn said. “The goalkeeper was outstanding and he kept us in the game.”

PERFECT RESPONSE: From Leeds United captain Liam Cooper, pictured right, celebrating the only goal of the game with Gjanni Alioski, centre, and Gaetano Berardi.

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