Leeds United: Redfearn’s planning for future regardless

Neil Redfearn.
Neil Redfearn.
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Neil Redfearn says he will plan to take charge of Leeds United’s pre-season schedule until the club tell him otherwise, admitting he is wary of being “caught short” by the doubt over his future.

United’s head coach is no closer to knowing if Leeds will renew his contract for another season, a week after owner Massimo Cellino returned from a Football League ban, but he is continuing to prepare for the resumption of training on July 1 as the wait for clarity goes on.

Cellino resumed control of United last week, three months after the Football League disqualified him from running the club, but he and Redfearn are yet to meet and discuss the head coach’s future.

Speaking to the YEP, Redfearn said his situation was “something for us to speak about between us” but admitted he was anxious to avoid being under-prepared if an agreement to extend his deal comes later in the summer.

Cellino did not finalise the appointment of former head coach David Hockaday last year until the middle of June, bringing Hockaday to Elland Road little more than a week before the start of pre-season training.

Redfearn has organised a summer tour for July, with Ireland a likely destination, and he has also suggested opponents for domestic friendlies.

“I’ve got to look at it as if I’m going to be here,” Redfearn said. “Whatever happens happens, but I don’t want to get to July and be in a position where we’re not ready to go.

“That’s why we sent the players away with fitness programmes last week.

“They’ve got to stick to them and if they don’t, if they come back short of where they should be and I’m in charge, then they won’t be involved. We’ve told them that.

“The lads need a break, from a physcological point of view as much as a physical one.

“It’s been a difficult season and that does take its toll.

“But 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 was asked to put pre-season plans in place before the end of the recent Championship term and he has also submitted a retained list and a suggested transfers targets to the club’s board.

The list of possible signings includes Charlie Adam, the Stoke City midfielder, and Queens Park Rangers winger Matt Phillips, whose side were relegated to the Championship yesterday.

Redfearn has also recommended a move for Burnley centre-back Jason Shackell, whose side also dropped out of the top flight at the weekend.

Signings of that ilk would depend on numerous factors, not least the lifting of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) embargo which the Football League imposed on United in the January transfer window.

The FFP santion limited Leeds to free transfers and loan signings on a maximum wage of around £11,000 a week. The Football League is yet to confirm whether United’s embargo will be removed ahead of the summer window.

Redfearn said: “There’s a lot that needs to happen but certain things are in place, whether I’m here or not. Pre-season shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve said before that if we can add the right players to what we’ve got then we’ll be in a good place but everyone in the Championship is looking to do the same now.

“When it (the new season) comes round, the club have got to be ready for it.”