NEIL REDFEARN has been offered the chance to rejoin Leeds United’s backroom team for Friday’s clash with Rotherham United amid speculation linking him to the manager’s job at York City.
In a move which could dampen interest in the club’s academy boss, Redfearn was invited to return to the dug-out by head coach Darko Milanic after briefly emerging as a contender for the vacancy at York.
City’s board identified Redfearn as a potential replacement for Nigel Worthington, who resigned as the League Two club’s manager on Monday, but have not followed up initial interest with a formal approach to speak to him.
Leeds seem reluctant to lose Redfearn but are aware of outside interest having overlooked him for the head coach’s position at Elland Road last month, despite a return of 10 points from four games with the 49-year-old in caretaker charge.
Owner Massimo Cellino chose to bring in Slovenian Milanic from Sturm Graz on a two-year deal but said he wanted Redfearn to work closely with United’s new head coach, saying: “The coaches must all work together. Darko is not the manager, he’s one of a team, and Neil is one of the team too. Neil is part of the environment.”
Milanic revealed at his initial press conference that Redfearn would be part of his staff on first-team matchdays but Leeds’ academy boss was absent from his first three games in charge.
Redfearn is understood to have taken the view that Milanic needed space and freedom to settle into his role and implement his own ideas after taking on a job in English football for the first time.
But the ex-Barnsley striker has spoken about his desire to work as a first-team boss after completing his third spell as caretaker at Elland Road.
He stepped into the breach after David Hockaday was sacked as head coach just 70 days into the job on August 28. Wins over Bolton Wanderers, Bournemouth and Huddersfield Town and a draw away at Birmingham City saw Redfearn maintain an unbeaten record during his short spell in charge.
United, however, are keen to retain a figure who has been central to the success of their academy since arriving in 2009.
Milanic is understood to have discussed the situation with Cellino, who is currently away in Italy on business, and asked Redfearn to resume more high-profile coaching duties alongside his academy role ahead of Friday’s Championship clash with Rotherham.