After three spells as caretaker Neil Redfearn looks set to be finally being handed the big job as Leeds United’s new head coach, but four days on from the swift sacking of Darko Milanic he has yet to sign a contract.
After just 32 winless days in the job Milanic was relieved of his duties and became the second head coach to bite the bullet after only six games in charge this season. He also set a new record in becoming the shortest-serving boss in the club’s history.
The decision was triggered as the Whites went from an impressive first half display to an inept second half performance to lose 2-1 at home to Wolves and leave Milanic with a record of three defeats and three draws from his six games with Leeds.
It was not as if there was no promise in the football played in some of those matches and Milanic was not blessed with the best of luck against Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham. But United failed to produce a 90-minute display in any of them and it was always going to be difficult to follow Redfearn’s period in temporary charge.
In the 12 matches under Milanic and originally chosen head coach David Hockaday Leeds collected just six league points this season and measured against the 10 in four games in Redfearn’s spell as caretaker it is a no brainer that owner Massimo Cellino is now turning to Redfearn on a permanent basis, admitting by doing so that he made a mistake in not doing so last time.
He said: “I’d heard good things about Milanic. He had a good record, he looked like a good coach, he was the coach I wanted. But what he was doing here was not good enough.
“On Saturday, how can the team play well in the first half and be so bad in the second? It’s not right. The coach, he could do nothing about it.
“I always say that when I make a mistake, I won’t pretend it was the right decision.
“I made a mistake with this guy. He is negative, he has a losing mentality. I can’t keep him just to defend my own decision.
“Neil Redfearn will be head coach, 100 per cent. He’ll take training and the job is his.
“The players know him, they respect him and they play for him. He plays attacking football, he plays the football we want to play. And he gets results.”
Redfearn has not yet finalised a contract as the new permanent head coach as, understandably, he seeks several assurances and maybe the safeguard of going back to being academy boss if it does not work out with the first team.
But it seems certain that he will lead United into their next game and he could not have a much tougher game to prepare the team for if history tells you anything with the Whites away at Cardiff this Saturday.
Leeds have not won at Cardiff since 1984 and have not beaten the Welsh side in any of their last 15 meetings in league and cup games.
They were one of the favourites for promotion at the start of the season, but despite having a strong squad on paper they have not fired on all cylinders and are only three points above United. They have had a change of manager too with Russell Slade having won his first two games after succeeding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before a 1-0 defeat at Millwall last Saturday.