Leeds United in limbo and ‘all over the place’ after tearful Steve Evans fears the worst

Leeds United head coach Steve Evans is consoled by assistant Paul Raynor at the end.
Leeds United head coach Steve Evans is consoled by assistant Paul Raynor at the end.
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LEEDS United signed off from a disappointing season with Saturday’s draw at Preston – after which captain Sol Bamba called for clarity on what happens next.

Leeds looked to be heading for a final-day victory after Chris Wood had slammed home a 78th-minute penalty, awarded after Chris Kirkland had felled Luke Murphy with a clumsy challenge.

Scott Wootton’s slip then let in Jordan Hugill to bag a stoppage-time equaliser, but of more consequence for Leeds is chairman Massimo Cellino’s moves over the coming weeks.

The club’s Italian owner has yet to offer head coach Steve Evans a new deal and with the Glaswegian’s contract expiring in June, the Scot was in tears as he waved farewell to 5,500 travelling Whites fans at Deepdale.

Bamba admitted the club’s players were unsettled by the continued uncertainty surrounding the head coach’s position, with the confusion heightened by United’s players also having no idea when to report back for pre-season training.

Bamba said: “We are just going to go away on holiday and receive a text to let us know when we need to come back and who is going to be the manager.

“It’s not ideal because we don’t know when we are coming back which is annoying but that’s what we are going to do.

“Let’s be honest, if we know who the manager is, then we can prepare better, definitely.

“At the minute, we are all over the place but, hopefully, that can be fixed very quick.

“I think Steve deserves a lot of credit because he has worked under extremely difficult circumstances and he has done very well.

“If this is his last game then obviously we wish him all the best but we will be sad because he has done very well.”

An emotional Evans said: “I’m always an optimist so I hope that me being pessimistic is wrong.

“But sometimes your head has to tell your heart what’s going to happen.

“I need to go to work next season but I’ll afford the club the time to make that decision. If it comes and it’s against me, I’ll break my heart and then I’ll switch to speaking to people (other clubs) who’ve waited to speak to me.”

Preston: Kirkland, Vermijl, Wright, Huntington, Woods, Browne (Robinson 70), Johnson, Gallagher, Reach, Beckford (Doyle 63), Garner (Hugill 79). Unused: Hudson, Pearson, Welsh, Humphrey.

Leeds United: Silvestri, Coyle, Bamba, Cooper (Wootton 45), Taylor, Diagouraga, Murphy, Cook, Mowatt (Antenucci 67), Dallas (Vieira 89), Wood. Unused substitutes: Peacock-Farrell, Phillips, Botaka, Doukara.

Referee: A Haines (Tyne and Wear).

Man of the match: Chris Wood.