Bridcutt deal in balance as Evans sides with Powell ahead of Leeds-Huddersfield derby

Leeds United manager Steve Evans is excited about the derby with Huddersfield Town but took time out to commiserate with Chris Powell over his sacking.
Leeds United manager Steve Evans is excited about the derby with Huddersfield Town but took time out to commiserate with Chris Powell over his sacking.
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THE numbers involved may differ slightly, but the managerial trends at Leeds United and Huddersfield Town in recent years are remarkably similar.

Since the 2006-07 season that saw Kevin Blackwell lose his job at Elland Road and Peter Jackson suffer the same fate at the then Galpharm Stadium, a succession of managers have found it nigh on impossible to last a full season at either of the West Yorkshire rivals.

Only two, in fact, have achieved the feat at either club since Blackwell and Jackson were sent on their way.

For Leeds, Simon Grayson and Brian McDermott are the men to have bucked the trend of here today, gone tomorrow appointments.

At Huddersfield, meanwhile, Lee Clark aped Grayson’s stint at Elland Road by remaining in charge for both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 campaigns, as Mark Robins – just as McDermott did down the A62 – limped through 2013-14.

This managerial merry-go-round has, of course, continued this week with Chris Powell having been sacked by the Terriers and replaced by David Wagner, the club’s seventh appointment since Jackson’s exit.

It means Steve Evans, in only his fifth game as Leeds’s head coach, will be in direct competition with Mark Lillis, himself in a fourth spell as caretaker manager of Town inside less than four years, at the John Smith’s tomorrow. And the Scot has plenty of sympathy for Powell.

“I was saddened by the news of Chris Powell’s departure and I have echoed these thoughts in a message to him,” said Evans, the 10th man to take the helm at Leeds since Blackwell’s sacking in September, 2006.

“I can’t speak too much about the new coach and how they are going to play, but I have watched Huddersfield Town on a few occasions and I thought they were all right, to be fair.

“I thought they had made big improvements under Chris, but they have got a very demanding chairman in Dean Hoyle, who has put a lot of money into the football club and he deserves to be able to make the choice that he feels is appropriate.

“It is sad for one manager, but it opens up another opportunity for another who has worked at the highest level.

“What I do know is that with management, with me and a lot of managers, it has gone from a real high feeling on a weekend when you win to a feeling of relief. That is the nature of the industry we are in, I am afraid.”

Evans had been hoping to have his first signing on board by the time United make the short trip to the John Smith’s.

However, a loan move for Sunderland midfielder Liam Bridcutt has stalled amid reported interest from other clubs.

When asked for an update, Black Cats chief Sam Allardyce said: “It (the deal) is confused – a bit like Leeds.”

Nevertheless, United still hope to conclude a deal for the 26-year-old by the end of the weekend.

Evans, who is also in talks with another target, added: “We are trying to be very selective with who we bring into the group as we have got some good players here and we want to make sure first and foremost that we are getting the best out of the group.

“When you go in the dressing room and you make a signing it will either lift the eyebrows of everyone or it will lift no one’s eyebrows.

“If we managed to get Liam in the door it would lift everyone’s eyebrows because I think the players know him and would welcome it.

“And if we get the other lad that we have just started talking to as of last evening it would raise further eyebrows as well.”

As for tomorrow’s clash with Huddersfield, Leeds will be hoping for a repeat of last season when they claimed a first league double since 1939.

On the task of taking on a Town side that will be led by caretaker manager Lillis, Evans added: “It is going to be a typical derby.

“We will take an absolute staggering support across to Huddersfield.

“I was there last season and I thought the atmosphere the home fans created was outstanding as well. It will be a real derby atmosphere.

“From a Leeds United point of view, the fans going across the short distance on the M62 will probably feel they should be driving a little bit further towards Manchester with the games they have had over the years.

“But we have to stop in Huddersfield, we have to go there and add to what was a good win against a good Cardiff side on Tuesday evening.”

Sol Bamba is hoping to return to the side after serving a one-game ban.