Chesterfield will appoint Dean Saunders as their new manager today after deciding against a move for Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn.
The League One club are believed to have shown an interest in Redfearn in the past few days but they will unveil ex-Wolves boss Saunders this afternoon, 24 hours after losing Paul Cook to Portsmouth.
Chesterfield’s board did not make an official approach to Leeds owner Massimo Cellino but they were following Redfearn’s situation closely amid the doubt surrounding his job at Elland Road.
Redfearn has had no communication with Cellino in the nine days since the Italian returned from his Football League ban and he has not been told whether Leeds intend to take up an option to keep him for another 12 months.
His existing deal – running to June 30 – gives United the right to retain him as head coach for the 2015-16 season and also offers Redfearn the chance to return to his old job as academy boss.
Leeds, however, have been linked with several potential replacements since the conclusion of the Championship season, including Brentford’s Mark Warburton and Burton Albion’s Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
Nigel Adkins is also being touted as a possible candidate for the role amid strong suggestions that the former Reading and Southampton boss has made his availability known to Cellino.
Redfearn, meanwhile, hinted last month that he would be reluctant to return to an academy job having managed the first team at Leeds since last November.
He was spotted in the crowd at the first leg of Chesterfield’s League One play-off semi-final against Preston last week, sparking talk of possible move there. The Spireites’ defeat in that two-legged clash spelled the end of Cook’s successful reign as manager.
Cook took charge in October 2012 and led the club to promotion from League Two last season before guiding his squad to a sixth-placed finish this term.
A deal with Portsmouth was in place prior to the play-offs, however, and he was confirmed as their new manager yesterday morning.
Chesterfield’s interest in Redfearn was always clouded by the lack of clarity over his position at Leeds and Saunders is set to land the job at the iPro Stadium, days after a short spell in charge of Crawley Town which ended in relegation from League One.
Redfearn will continue to plan for the start of pre-season in the absence of any discussions with Leeds.
“I’ve got to look at it as if I’m going to be here,” Redfearn told the YEP on Monday. “Whatever happens happens but I don’t want to get to July and be in a position where we’re not ready to go. We need to be ready and that goes for me too because we don’t want to get caught short when the season starts.”
Redfearn himself cast doubt over his future in the final weeks of the season by saying he would have to have a “long, hard think” before agreeing to extend his contract at Elland Road. Redfearn lost his assistant, Steve Thompson, to a sudden and unexplained suspension with seven games of the campaign to go and says his return would be a key demand if he was to stay on at the club.