Neil Redfearn will remain in charge of Leeds United for tonight’s visit to Wolverhampton Wanderers but he cast more doubt over his future as head coach by accusing the club of isolating him by suspending his assistant, Steve Thompson.
Redfearn confirmed his intention to lead United into this evening’s match at Molineux after a 3-0 defeat at home to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday ended a shambolic week for the Elland Road club.
The 49-year-old managed his squad alone at the weekend following Leeds’ controversial decision to remove Thompson from his post on Thursday morning.
Redfearn, who said he had still been given no explanation for his assistant’s suspension, revealed again that he was pondering his future in the wake of mounting interference from the club’s hierarchy.
The United boss fielded Mirco Antenucci as a substitute on Saturday, defying pressure from his board to leave the striker out due to a goal-related clause in Antenucci’s contract which is set to earn him a 12-month extension. The crowd at Elland Road offered vocal support to Redfearn during his side’s clash with Blackburn but Leeds slipped to a 3-0 loss after midfielder Rodolph Austin was shown a straight red card with 40 minutes gone and the game goalless.
Asked if he felt isolated by Leeds, Redfearn said: “Whether I feel that or not, I definitely am. I had a number two and now I haven’t. It’s happened. It’s not great.
“But in the short term, this game (Blackburn) and the game on Monday – I’m putting all that first. I’ve tried to get on with the job. A lot of people are making statements and saying things and that’s up to them. All I can do is what I do and what I’m told to do. Until I’m told different, I’ll get on with the job.”
Redfearn thanked a crowd of over 25,000 for supporting him on Saturday, saying: “They were brilliant. They’ve been outstanding with us all season.
“To be fair to them they can see what we’re trying to do. We’ve had a really good run in the new year and we’ve got ourselves safe. They’ve seen Thommo go and it’s not good. They know what we’ve done and what we’ve achieved.”
Blackburn defender Matthew Kilgallon, a player who began his career at Leeds before joining Sheffield United in 2007, described the situation at Elland Road as “a shame” and admitted he feared that some of United’s young prospects would be lost as a result of the current turmoil.
“I want this club to do well,” Kilgallon said. “There’s no secret that I’m a Leeds fan and it’s always one thing after another here. I don’t think the manager even knew his assistant had gone. It’s a shame.
“I think (the younger players) are going to see what’s happening here. They’re playing really well and deserve big contracts. I wish they would stay here and climb up the league. I just think they’re very good players and people will come and get them.”
Redfearn claimed Austin’s dismissal for an off-the-ball shove on Ben Marshall was a “poor decision” but the Jamaican will start a three-match ban tonight unless Leeds choose to appeal his red card.
United are already without the injured Lewis Cook, leaving Redfearn with holes to fill in midfield.
“We’ve got a problem now with Lewis and Rudy out,” Redfearn said.
“Wolves are a good side and very dynamic. They’re up there for a reason. But it’s a game we should be looking forward to.”