Leeds United: Redfearn ready to plan for Birmingham clash

Neil Redfearn
Neil Redfearn
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Leeds United caretaker Neil Redfearn said tonight that he would prepare for a second game in charge at Birmingham City next weekend amid the club’s on-going search for a new head coach.

United’s academy manager, who took control of the senior squad after the sacking of David Hockaday last month, is readying himself for another appearance in the dug-out with Massimo Cellino yet to decide on Hockaday’s replacement.

Redfearn handled Leeds’ clash with Bolton Wanderers before the start of the international, guiding the club to their second win of the Championship season.

Cellino spoke with him earlier this week and told the 44-year-old to “continue with his work” while United’s owner pondered a range of options for the vacant head coach’s job at Elland Road.

Ex-Brighton boss Oscar Garcia emerged as Cellino’s first choice last weekend but disappointed the Italian by taking over at Watford, and Cellino has given no indication about who he will turn to next.

Redfearn is believed to be an increasingly serious candidate having worked with Leeds’ academy for the past five-and-a-half years and he has taken training this week in the absence of permanent boss.

He is expected to remain in charge during the early stages of next week and will take United to Birmingham on Saturday unless Cellino appoints Hockaday’s successor before then.

Redfearn told the YEP: “I’ve spoken with Massimo and the message was pretty simple - continue with what I’m doing, continue with my work and look after everything while he decides what he wants to do.

“Birmingham will come round quickly and I’ll prepare the team properly for that game. They need to be set up and organised so that one way or another we go there in the best possible shape.

“If I take that game then they’ll know exactly what I expect from them. I’ll be prepared for it and they will too. If someone else comes in before then, the new man has a team who are ready to go. That way it’s win-win.

“I’m not involved in (the search for a new coach) and Massimo’s going to take as much time as he needs. I’ll take care of everything for as long as he needs me to. He knows I’m happy to help.”

Cellino sacked Hockaday last week after six competitive games in the job and has since spoken to Garcia and former West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke.

Garcia replaced Beppe Sannino at Vicarage Road on Tuesday and Cellino is not confident of persuading Clarke to fill the vacancy at Leeds.

Ex-United manager Simon Grayson was heavily linked with the job seven days ago but is staying on as Preston North End boss.

Sources close to the 44-year-old say he rejected an offer from Cellino on Monday. Others at Leeds insist Grayson made an approach to them and was never formally offered the post.

The club, however, have received countless applications and Tony Mowbray, Chris Hughton and Paul Hart are among the many coaches who are interested in replacing Hockaday.

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