NEIL Redfearn insisted last night that he had been given no promises about an extended run in charge of Leeds United’s first team as owner Massimo Cellino prepared to renew his focus on the vacant head coach’s job.
Redfearn will be in temporary charge for the second game running at Birmingham City tomorrow after the international break came and went without the appointment of a replacement for David Hockaday, but Leeds’ caretaker said his role was “as you were” two weeks on from Hockaday’s sacking.
Cellino dismissed Hockaday 48 hours before a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers on August 30 but the Italian flew out to the USA after that game and has made no significant progress with his search for a permanent successor.
A plan to appoint ex-Brighton boss Oscar Garcia came to nothing as the Spaniard took up a job at Watford and Cellino gave Redfearn a firm vote of confidence on Tuesday by saying he could not see “anyone better” than the 49-year-old among the long list of applicants for the vacancy.
Redfearn, United’s academy manager, is expected to handle both tomorrow’s visit to St Andrews and Tuesday’s match away at Bournemouth but he denied that he and Cellino had broached the subject of him taking the head coach’s position on a full-time basis.
“As daft as it seems, we haven’t (spoken about it),” Redfearn said. “It might sound a bit crass but all we’ve spoken about is players and the next game coming up. It’s always been short-term, which is fine by me.
“That’s where I’m at and that’s where the club are at. The president’s got a big decision to make so with regards to myself, it’s the status quo, it’s as you were. I’m looking after things for him.
“I’ve spoken to him about half-a-dozen times and all the conversations were based around football. He wants to talk about players, systems and so on.
“He’s interested and he’s got good knowledge. I’m not just saying that because he’s my boss. He is my boss but the bottom line is that he really does.”
Cellino is due to attend tomorrow’s game at Birmingham where Leeds will look for their first away point of the season.
United began the Championship term with three defeats and two wins from five matches, and an early exit from the League Cup at the hands of Bradford City cost Hockaday his job.
Redfearn has had two clear weeks to work with United’s squad and gave new signing Adryan a run-out in a development squad fixture on Monday.
The Brazilian midfielder – on loan from Flamengo – is in contention to make his first-team debut at St Andrews.
Asked if he was focused on securing the head coach’s job, Redfearn said: “At the moment I’m looking after the side and there’s no pressure with that. Massimo’s looking for a new head coach and I’m trying to help out by putting the club in a position where it’s better all round when (an appointment) happens. That’s how I’m viewing it.
“I don’t think I have to manage. At some point there’s a chance I’ll manage somewhere but there’s no pressure on me to do that. If you love football and you’re involved in football then you get enjoyment out of it.
“You don’t have to put pressure on yourself to take on a certain role. If the circumstances are right and that’s the way you want to go then why not? But my role here hasn’t changed.”
Birmingham were badly beaten in their last game before the international break, losing 4-0 away to Wigan Athletic and dropping to 20th in the Championship, two places below Leeds.
CIty survived relegation in the dying seconds of last season and have made a poor start to the new term but Redfearn said: “Through my experience of playing at this level, I know there’s nobody you can take for granted. Everyone’s capable on their day.
“In football you can’t look past the next game and from my point of view, that’s a good way to look at things. Let’s deal with Birmingham.”