LEEDS UNITED have officially unveiled Steve Thompson as their new assistant coach today, ending Neil Redfearn’s long wait for a key addition to his backroom staff.
Leeds and Thompson had been in direct talks since Huddersfield Town revealed last week that they were willing to allow their first-team coach to move to Elland Road for no compensation.
The 50-year-old – formerly a team-mate of Redfearn’s at Bolton Wanderers – finalised his appointment on Thursday in time to join United’s boss in the dug-out for Saturday’s game at Nottingham Forest.
His contract with Leeds runs to the end of the season and includes the option of a second year, in line with Redfearn’s own deal as head coach.
Redfearn has been looking to add Thompson to his coaching team since taking charge of United’s senior squad from Darko Milanic at the start of November.
Huddersfield initially asked Leeds for compensation but relented after United owner Massimo Cellino refused to meet their demands.
Thompson joined Huddersfield as assistant manager to Mark Robins in June but Robins was sacked a game into this season and replaced by Chris Powell.
Powell promptly moved Thompson into the position of first-team coach and named Alex Dyer as Huddersfield’s number two instead.
Thompson was receptive to Redfearn’s interest from the outset and Powell admitted last month that he would not block a move which took the ex-Rotherham United midfielder to Elland Road.
Speaking prior to Leeds’ 1-0 defeat to Fulham on Saturday, Redfearn said: “The club know what I feel and the person I want. I’ve got to be patient. It does get frustrating but it’s important that it’s done the right way.
“We’ve got to be respectful of other clubs.”
The delay in securing Thompson’s signature left Redfearn without an assistant for seven consecutive league games.
United have been aided by goalkeeping coach Neil Sullivan and fitness coach Matt Pears but Thompson looks likely to be alongside him at the City Ground this weekend.
Thompson has many years of coaching experience behind him, much of it gained at Blackpool where he worked for a while under ex-Leeds boss Simon Grayson and acted as caretaker twice.