Leeds United v Charlton: It is Leeds’s play Redfearn is anxious to see take wing

Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn welcomes the opportunity to focus on tonights match against Charlton rather than any off-field issues (Picture: James Hardisty).Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn welcomes the opportunity to focus on tonights match against Charlton rather than any off-field issues (Picture: James Hardisty).
Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn welcomes the opportunity to focus on tonights match against Charlton rather than any off-field issues (Picture: James Hardisty).
AFTER a couple of disruptive days that have seen Leeds United strongly linked with a third takeover in as many seasons, head coach Neil Redfearn admits forecasting how the season is going to pan out is “difficult”.

Drinks company, Red Bull, was reported to be interested in a potential buyout of the Championship outfit, just six months 
after Massimo Cellino had taken charge.

The Italian vehemently denied the story when it emerged over the weekend and the soft drinks firm, which already owns three other football clubs around the world, last night did the same.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This, at least, means the focus is able to return to the pitch and United’s attempts to end a seven-game winless run tonight when Charlton Athletic visit Elland Road.

As for predicting how the campaign will work out, Redfearn – ahead of his first home game in permanent charge of the first team – admitted: “It is difficult to see where we are going to be (in terms of league position).

“We have a lot of players, a lot of young players and a lot of players who were signed at the beginning of the season.

“There has been a lot of change and I think it is going to be two (steps) forward, one back, for a while.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I am well aware of that and I think the people at the club are. The supporters understand. But we also want to go out and try to win every game.”

Talk of potential takeovers at Elland Road is, of course, nothing new. In the final few years of Ken Bates’s reign, all manner of parties were linked before GFH finally bought the club in December, 2012.

Hopes that the Bahrain-based investment bank’s purchase of United would herald a period of stability soon faded and Cellino, after a protracted courtroom battle with the Football League, took charge in April.

Suggestions that Red Bull, recently linked with a move for Newcastle United before baulking at the £230m asking price, wanted to buy Leeds in a deal worth around £55m emerged over the weekend, but the drinks firm last night told The Yorkshire Post: “We can confirm that Red Bull has no plans to take over Leeds United nor take a stake in the club.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With the interest of Red Bull – whose representatives Cellino has confirmed he did meet last week for discussions over a potential investment – now seemingly dead, the focus can return to football and that hunt for a first win since September 20.

Bearing in mind how long the two head coaches already dismissed by Cellino this season lasted in the job, victory in one – or preferably both – of this week’s games would surely be in the new man’s interests.

Dave Hockaday and Darko Milanic lasted just six games each but Redfearn, ahead of taking on his former club tonight, is choosing to focus not on his two most recent predecessors but the pride he will feel at taking charge as the club’s permanent boss.

“It is a fantastic honour, at the club I have supported as a boy,” said Redfearn, whose side host Blackpool on Saturday. “It is a chance to put on a performance.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It will take time, I know that. But I want to see our play resemble what it was like before (when Redfearn, as caretaker head coach, claimed 10 points from a possible 12). I want to see bravery on the ball, forward passing, energy, work-rate and efforts on goal.”

United will be without Jason Pearce after the club captain picked up a fifth booking of the season.

Liam Cooper will deputise, while Redfearn is again expected to display his faith in youth after Academy graduate Chris Dawson was brought off the bench in Saturday’s defeat to Cardiff City to join teenagers Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt in midfield.

Redfearn said: “I think the shining light so far this season have been the young players who have come in and done well.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Chris Dawson came in and did well off the bench on Saturday, while Sam Byram is back in contention and Charlie Taylor is around it. They are our players and they are going to be in and around our first team, hopefully, for years to come.

“We have good players in the Under-21s and good players underneath that. So the future looks good. But the initial task is to try and get us up and running now. We have lost our way a little bit for whatever reason and are on a bit of a bad run.

“They have had no luck at times. But I think you earn your luck; the harder you work, the luckier you get and I think we have got to get back into that way of thinking.

“I think with winning and doing well comes belief. You could see that in the runs we had, when we got the wins.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It is not going to happen overnight or straightaway and Saturday at Cardiff was a prime example. We had 10 efforts on goal, which for an away side is good and a plus. Now, though, we have to start hitting the target a bit more.”

Last six games: Leeds United DDLDLL, Charlton Athletic WDLWLD.

Referee: G Salisbury (Lancashire).

Last time: Leeds United 0 Charlton Athletic 1; April 1, 2014; Championship.