Rotherham United 2 Leeds United 1: Rival clubs eye Evans after Leeds' latest loss
Evans’ representatives are understood to have been contacted by the owner of a second-tier side last week with the 53-year-old rapidly nearing the end of his contract at Leeds United and the Elland Road club looking increasingly likely to replace him in the summer.
Evans’ claim to a new contract at Leeds – extending his initial deal which runs out at the end of June – was weakened further by a 2-1 defeat to Rotherham United on Saturday, a dramatic contest which dropped United down to 14th in the Championship.
The Scot’s future at Elland Road has been under the microscope ever since a 4-0 loss to Brighton in February but owner Massimo Cellino resisted any temptation to sack him at that stage and also vowed to delay any decision on Evans until the end of the season after a 4-1 loss to Huddersfield Town last month.
Evans, however, is eight games away from the end of the term and it emerged over the weekend that an unnamed team in the Championship had already floated the idea of taking him on next term.
Both bottom-of-the-table Bolton Wanderers and struggling Nottingham Forest – beaten 3-0 by Brentford on Saturday – are currently without managers after the recent sacking of Neil Lennon and Dougie Freedman respectively.
Asked to confirm any approach, former Rotherham boss Evans said: “That’s not for today. I’ve just lost in a derby away at a club who are very dear to my heart. When they’re close and dear to your heart, it’s very hard to take.”
But pressed on whether another Championship club were interested in him, Evans said: “I’ve not had any phone calls. The people who look after me, what they’ve had is not for me to be talking about because I want to be the Leeds United head coach.”
Evans, who has managed Leeds for 30 competitive matches, was making his first return to Rotherham – a club where he won two promotions – since quitting his role as manager there last October.
Leeds appeared to have earned a point when Luke Murphy struck 11 minutes from time to cancel out a first-half goal from Lee Frecklington.
But Rotherham, who were reduced to 10 men on 61 minutes when Matt Derbyshire was dismissed for an elbow on Gaetano Berardi, snatched victory through a last-gasp Greg Halford penalty after United goalkeeper Marco Silvestri was sent off for a trip on Frecklington.
Evans admitted the late goal had soured an occasion which began with him receiving warm applause from the home crowd before kick-off.
“I hated it didn’t I? I’d hate it if anyone got a late winner against me,” Evans said. “But I’m not disappointed with the performance. I’m disappointed in the result.
“All I have to think about now is Queens Park Rangers (at Elland Road tomorrow). I said after Huddersfield that we’d think about Rotherham United.
“We did plenty enough to win the game but we’ve got kicked at the end.”