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Leeds legend: Cellino needs time to find the right man

Peter Lorimer has admitted that Massimo Cellino has been wise not to rush into appointing a manager at Elland Road.

Former Whites captain Lorimer progressed through the youth academy in Yorkshire, going on to make over 700 appearances, and winning the First Division title on two occasions with the Leeds golden generation.

He has held positions on the board at Elland Road, and currently writes a column for the Yorkshire Evening Post, as well as commentating on Leeds games. And it was in his column that the former Scotland midfielder gave his opinion on the current situation at Elland Road.

The Whites are still in the market for a new manager, having sacked Dave Hockaday two weeks ago. Academy coach Neil Redfearn stepped up to the first-team on an interim basis and oversaw a 1-0 victory over Bolton, and it was widely believed that the imminent international break would be the perfect opportunity for President Massimo Cellino to appoint a head coach with no football being played.

Despite the high number of candidates openly applying for the role - with former strikers Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Robbie Fowler two of the most high profile - Cellino has held off, and it is likely that Redfearn will still be in charge for this weekend’s fixture with Birmingham.

Whilst it seems unwise to dwell on appointing a new manager, with stability being in short supply at Elland Road, Lorimer accepts that the right decision is better than the quick decision.

"Like a lot of the club’s supporters, I thought the international break would be a prime opportunity for Leeds United to find a new head coach.

"But if it’s a quick decision versus the right decision then I’d take the right decision every time. No doubt it would have satisfied the fans to see someone in place before our game at Birmingham City but an appointment in this two-week period wasn’t essential.

"We’re in safe hands with Neil Redfearn and the win over Bolton Wanderers last month showed that he’s capable of managing the first team, even if that’s only for a short while. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be a candidate for the head coach’s job but if it goes to someone else then I think we’re well-covered in the meantime.”

What Lorimer believes has been key to Redfearn’s success, is that his knowledge of the players - having brought many up from youth level - offers him a far greater insight than any potential candidate available.

"It took a bit of courage to play Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt from the start but our midfield was more lively and mobile with those two in the team. Even though Neil knows them lads well, selecting Cook and Mowatt was a gamble on an afternoon when we really needed three points.

"You can read a couple of things into that. For starters, Neil obviously has the confidence to pick a team for his own reasons and employ his own tactics.

"Quite often with caretakers you find that they just send out the same players in the same old system but it was clear to see that under David Hockaday, the strategy wasn’t working.”

Under Hockaday, it was often rumoured that Cellino was picking the team himself, with the head coach merely there to be pitch side during the game. However, Redfearn’s short spell has given hints that he is in much more control.

“It couldn’t be said on the basis of the line-up against Bolton that Massimo Cellino is picking the team.

"As far as I could tell, Neil made his own choices and was free to get on with the job. People have this image of Cellino interfering all the time, spending his days at Thorp Arch calling the shots, but that’s really not fair. As much as he dictates the transfers and negotiates the deals, all he wants is a coach who sorts the team and produces results, plain and simple.

"We certainly need a boss who’s going to do just that. Last month wasn’t great and we were maybe slightly fortunate to come out of it with six points. Given the turmoil with Hockaday and the performances in general, I personally saw that tally as a bit of a bonus."

With Redfearn in charge for a tough tie with Birmingham, Leeds fans will be hoping that he continues to bring improved results - and maybe the full-time job will be his for the taking.

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