Leeds United: Redfearn already has an eye on next season

Neil Redfearn.
Neil Redfearn.
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Neil Redfearn is hopeful that his reign as Leeds United head coach will earn him a second season in charge at Elland Road, claiming he has “done enough” to justify an extension to his contract.

Redfearn revealed that he and the club have already turned one eye to next season and called for an opportunity to “keep the momentum going” after guiding United away from relegation.

Leeds are close to securing their Championship status on the strength of an improved spell of results since the start of January and their remote chance of snatching a play-off place – effectively ended by a 2-0 defeat at Brighton on Tuesday – is giving the club the freedom to plan ahead.

Redfearn said he has been involved in discussions about player retention and recruitment in the summer and has also spoken to the club about pre-season, but Leeds have not yet confirmed that he or his assistant, Steve Thompson, will remain in place for the 2015-16 campaign.

The pair are under contract for the rest of this season and their deals include clauses giving United the right to tie them down for a further 12 months. Redfearn’s contract also has a provision which would allow him to resume his previous job as academy boss if Leeds decide to replace him as head coach.

Redfearn admitted that he was working under the assumption that he would take United’s first-team squad into next season, saying: “I’ve got to start thinking that way. I’ve got to accept that I’m going to be here.

“We need to make sure we’ve got the right blend, the right system and the right way of playing so we can hit the ground running next season. Pre-season’s going to be important. We’ve done well, we’ve got a bit of momentum now and I want to keep that going.

“We’ve talked about players for next season, who we’re going to keep, and we’ve been planning pre-season but nothing official’s been announced (about his future).

“It’s the club’s decision and it’ll be down to them. They’ll make a decision when the time’s right.

“I think I’ve done enough if I’m honest. I’ve got the backing of the players, they love what they’re doing and they’ve got a clear sight of where they’re going.

“People know we’ve done well. I spoke to Chris Hughton at Brighton and he was very complimentary about the fact that we’ve got the club in a better position and got results the right way. We know what we’re doing. It isn’t as if we don’t.”

United looked likely to wait until former president and owner Massimo Cellino returned from his Football League disqualification in April before addressing Redfearn’s contract but Cellino’s own future is unclear following an announcement this week that he would not retake control of Leeds until after he contests his ownership ban via the Football Association’s arbitration process.

Redfearn, whose squad have 13 games left to play this season, starting at home to Watford tomorrow, said: “I don’t want to talk too much about next season because I don’t want to disrespect the fact that we’ve got a lot of games left.

“I don’t want to tempt fate or pre-empt anything but you’re always going to have one eye on it.”