Leeds’s safety tasked to experienced troops

NEIL REDFEARN has challenged Leeds United’s senior players to step up to the plate and ensure no relegation fires need to be fought in the closing few weeks of the season.

The 47-year-old starts his second stint as caretaker-manager at former club Charlton Athletic this afternoon after being handed the reins on a temporary basis following Neil Warnock’s departure on Easter Monday.

While the exit of Warnock and the search for his long-term successor have dominated Leeds supporters’ thoughts this week, many are also equally mindful that United, without a Championship win in six matches, are too close to the drop zone for comfort.

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The Whites may be in mid-table, but appearances are somewhat misleading with just five points separating them from the final relegation position.

With the likes of Watford and Brighton still to play and a dire away record to factor in – United are without a league win on the road since December 1 – Redfearn is conscious that the club’s priority is ensuring second-tier football for another season, preferably sooner rather than later.

He said: “It is that time of year where the senior boys have got to take responsibility and take us over the line.

“The young players that are at the club are doing fantastically well and their time will definitely come.

“But it is maybe that time of year when you need experience and some know-how to get us where we want to be.

“If we can get a couple of wins quick and settle down, then we can maybe look at a couple of kids, but it is up to the senior pros to take responsibility.

“There is enough there. To be fair, they have been just the wrong side of results in several games and they could have had more points.”

Urging players to also show their capabilities to impress any interested candidates seeking to take over, several of whom are expected to be at the Valley today, he added: “They realise that they have got to find that little bit extra. It is about them and the (future) new manager will be looking in. He will be sat in the stands perhaps, and he will be thinking, ‘Which ones am I going to take with me?’”