Leeds United: Steve Thompson return key to my future - Redfearn

Steve Thompson
Steve Thompson
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Neil Redfearn believes Leeds United are still undecided about his future as head coach and says he will ask the club to reinstate his suspended assistant, Steve Thompson, if they move to renew his contract.

Speaking ahead of what could be his last game in charge, the Leeds boss admitted an agreement which brings Thompson back to Elland Road would be a crucial part of any discussions about an extension of his own deal.

Redfearn and United’s owner, Massimo Cellino, are expected to meet for talks next week with Cellino’s Football League disqualification almost at an end.

The Italian’s short-term ban - imposed on him following his conviction for tax evasion last year - runs out this Sunday, allowing him to retake control of a club with countless pressing issues.

Redfearn’s position is up in the air with his contract set to run out after Saturday’s match against Rotherham United and the club yet to inform him if they will take up an option to extend his deal for another 12 months.

The 49-year-old anticipated a decision ahead of the end of the Championship season but developments regarding his future will wait until Cellino is reinstalled at Elland Road on Monday.

Redfearn, however, is prepared to fight Thompson’s corner following the sudden and unexplained suspension of his number two last month.

Thompson was removed from his post and told that his contract would not be renewed when it ran out this summer, a decision Leeds said was taken by their sporting director, Nicola Salerno.

The reasons for suspending Thompson, who is being advised by the League Managers’ Association, have never been outlined but Leeds lost five matches back-to-back following his departure on April 4. They ended that run with a win at Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday.

Redfearn, who has repeatedly stated that he would seek assurances from United about key issues before agreeing to remain as head coach, said: “That’s got to be resolved. Steve’s been suspended but I don’t think there’s been an inquiry since. It would be nice to know what’s at the bottom of it. It would be good if I could get Steve back.

“That for me would be a big plus and I think it’s important for me to know that that would happen. Steve came in and made a big difference. We worked well together. For me going forward, as a pair we compliment each other well. If we could do something about that it would be a big plus.”

Redfearn has had no discussions about his job with anyone at Leeds during Cellino’s absence and chairman Andrew Umbers told the YEP last week that a decision on United’s head coach would be made by Cellino after the end of the Italian’s Football League ban.

Asked if he thought Cellino had already made up his mind, Redfearn said: “It seems like they’ve not decided either way or I’d have thought that by this point they’d have told me.

“They know what I’m like and they know I’m professional enough to get on with it, if it was a case of ‘look, we’re going to change it in the summer.’ If it was only to the end of this season I’d have been professional and done it. It leads me to think that they’re undecided.

“Probably next week it’ll unravel and whatever will happen will happen. The club will move on.”

Cellino has been given permission by the Football League to go to Saturday’s match - the last of the Championship term - and to be present at the club’s end-of-season awards ceremony later than night.

The 58-year-old told the YEP on Tuesday that he was yet to decided if he would attend either event. Sections of Leeds’ support have protested against him during recent matches - venting their frustration at the end of a turbulent season - and are likely to do so again on Saturday.

Redfearn, who could still be offered the chance to resume his previous role as academy boss if Leeds turn to a new head coach, admitted that it would “hurt” him to be overlooked after a season in which he and his squad fought a successful battle against relegation.

But the former Barnsley midfielder said: “I’m a professional person and I understand how football works. I said last week that I’ve got no divine right to be manager of Leeds United but I’d love to be in charge next season. That goes without saying.

“I can see the way forward and by that I mean I can see the young players getting better and better. I can see us adding other players to it. I can see the experienced players who are here growing and taking responsibility. I can see the majority of the overseas lads finding their feet. I can see it taking off. Why wouldn’t I want to be part of that?”