Can this week bring clarity over Neil Redfearn's future at Leeds United?

Neil Redfearn

With no game until Saturday's visit of Cardiff City to Elland Road, will Neil Redfearn's future become any clearer this week?

Leeds' president and owner Massimo Cellino is preparing his return to the club at the end of the season when his Football League suspension runs out on May 4th. The Italian is gradually becoming more vocal as his unique ban comes to an end and high on his agenda will be Redfearn's future at the club.

However, speaking after Leeds' shattering late defeat to Wolves on Monday evening, Redfearn claimed his future had to be sorted out - for legal reasons - prior to the club's last game at home to Rotherham United on May 2nd.

Redfearn's contract stipulates that the option of a year's extension must be taken up prior to that last game, and if that isn't taken, clearly Redfearn has no future as the club's head coach. In the short term, Redfearn claimed he will be in charge for the remaining five games of the season "unless I'm told any different".

Although it doesn't take a genius to conclude that nothing will happen until Cellino returns to the club in May, Redfearn's contract appears to dictate that a decision needs to be made prior to that. Indeed, with Cellino banned from having any managerial involvement at Elland Road, interim chairman Andrew Umbers seemingly needs to make that decision on Redfearn.  

If Redfearn doesn't get a new contract, whether he would return to his position of academy director - as he insisted he be allowed to do if the head coach role didn't work out - is open to question.

Firstly, Redfearn may now feel he has done enough to justify a high profile manager's job at another club, and secondly, Redfearn clearly feels let down over the suspension of his assistant Steve Thompson last week. This may lead to Redfearn being unwilling to remain at the club in any capacity if his option of a second season as head coach is not taken up.

If Redfearn does get a new contract, surely he will want the situation with Steve Thompson cleared up? Would Redfearn accept a new contract without his right-hand man? These are issues that can't be ignored by Leeds United any longer and Redfearn would surely only accept the position on his terms, as he did back in October 2014 when he negotiated the permanent position with Cellino. 

In the background also are the ongoing rumours of Cellino selling his majority shareholding in the Sky Bet Championship club, and clearly there are a series of open-ended issues at Elland Road, as there always are.

Redfearn was defiant after the 4-3 defeat to Wolves, claiming he felt "isolated" without Thompson by his side and bereft of the support of Leeds United's upper management.

The 49-year-old  was adamant that Leeds United's cause was far greater than his own and in dismissing the contract talk he told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it and at this moment in time it’s wrong to think about me. The club’s far more important. I just want to do the best for this club.

“You can see the players are with us and the supporters are with us. We just need a fighting chance. This great club is starting to get back to its feet and it needs a chance - the same chance that the other 91 league clubs have. If it gets a fair chance then we can get it going. But we do need to get that chance.”

It appears then that Redfearn will remain in charge of the club for the Cardiff game on Saturday, and indeed for the remaining weeks of the season, but with a decision needing to be made before May 2nd, speculation is sure to mount over his long term position.

This may lead to an untenable situation whereby Redfearn approaches the Rotherham United game aware that his contract will not be extended. Whether Redfearn could lead the team in such circumstances is questionable, and raises the issue again, that his future requires addressing sooner rather than later, and surely now must be.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch