Sheffield Wednesday 1 Leeds United 2: Heartfelt ‘fighting talk’ from Redfearn

Neil Redfearn.
Neil Redfearn.
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Neil Redfearn said he would fight for his “voice to be heard” at Leeds United after Saturday’s 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday moved him a step closer to a decision on his future as head coach.

Redfearn admitted that his willingness to accept an extension to his contract would rest on the level of authority given to him by the club and their banned owner, Massimo Cellino – and hinted that he would not rush into reclaiming his old job as academy boss.

Leeds’ victory at Hillsborough carried them into the final week of a hard Championship season and Redfearn’s squad will complete their campaign at home to Rotherham United this Saturday.

United are headed for a mid-table finish after their performance in Sheffield ended a run of five straight defeats and left them in 15th position.

The conclusion of the Rotherham game will bring Redfearn’s situation to a head with his existing deal due to expire this summer and Cellino poised to retake control of Leeds once his Football League disqualification ends on Sunday.

Redfearn, who became head coach on a permanent basis in November, remains in the dark about his job and is yet to have any discussions with the club about their plans for him.

“I want this club to be mobile,” Redfearn said. “My voice needs to be heard, my experience needs to be listened to and then we need to get our heads together. We need to agree on things. If we do that we’ve got a great chance of getting out of this division.”

Redfearn’s contract includes an option giving Leeds the right to extend his tenure for another 12 months but it also offers him the chance to resume his role in United’s academy – the job he left to take charge of the first-team squad.

Asked if he was still open to the possibility of working at youth-team level again, Redfearn said: “I’ve got to have that conversation with the owner.

“With where the club is and with the talent we’ve got coming through the academy – which has been the fruits of all the academy staff, not just me; everybody that’s been involved – I’d say I’m in the best place (as head coach) to develop that and harness that.

“Now if that opinion’s not shared, that’s no problem. That’s football. But then I’ll have to have a real, long hard think about what’s right for me.”

Redfearn insisted that he retained the support of the squad at Elland Road, saying: “They’re buying into what I’m doing. When me and Steve (Thompson, United’s suspended assistant) were together, they were buying into it wholeheartedly.

“They’ve wanted to show that they’re behind it and that’s been really apparent. It was apparent in the run that got us out of trouble and it was apparent in this game (at Hillsborough).”

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