Odds shorten on Redfearn taking permanent charge at Leeds

LEEDS United caretaker Neil Redfearn said last night that he would be ready for a second game in charge at Birmingham City next weekend amid the club’s on-going search for a new head coach.

Neil Redfearn

The club’s academy manager, who took charge of their senior squad after the sacking of David Hockaday last month, will prepare himself for another afternoon on the touchline with owner Massimo Cellino yet to decide on Hockaday’s replacement.

Cellino spoke with Redfearn earlier this week and told him to “continue with his work” while the Italian continued to consider a range of options for the vacant head coach’s job at Elland Road.

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Ex-Brighton boss Oscar Garcia emerged as Cellino’s first choice last weekend but disappointed Cellino by taking over at Watford on Tuesday and Cellino has given no indication about who he will turn to next.

Redfearn is believed to be an increasingly serious candidate having worked with Leeds’ academy for the past five-and-a-half years and he has taken training this week in the absence of permanent head coach.

He is expected to remain in charge during the early stages of next week and will take United to Birmingham for their sixth match of the Championship season on Saturday unless Cellino names Hockaday’s successor before then.

Redfearn said: “We’ve spoken and the message was pretty simple - continue with what I’m doing, continue with my work and look after everything while he decides what he wants to do.

“Birmingham will come round quickly and I’ll prepare the team properly for that game. They need to be set up and organised so that one way or another we go to Birmingham in the best possible shape.

“If I take that game then they’ll know exactly what I expect from them. If someone else comes in before then, they’ll be taking on a team who are prepared and ready to go. That way it’s win-win.

“I’m not involved in (the search for a new coach) and Massimo’s going to take as much time as he needs. I’ll look after everything for as long as he needs me to.”

Cellino sacked Hockaday last week and has since spoken to Garcia and former West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke.

Ex-Leeds manager Simon Grayson was heavily linked with the job seven days ago but is staying on as Preston North End boss.

Sources close to the 44-year-old say he rejected an offer from Cellino on Monday. Others at Leeds insist Grayson made an approach to them and was never formally offered the post.

The club, however, have received countless applications and Tony Mowbray, Chris Hughton and Paul Hart are among the many coaches who are interested in replacing Hockaday.