If Cellino doesn't back Redfearn by Saturday is his fate at Leeds sealed?

Elland Road

According to Leeds' head coach he is contractually obliged to know if he is being retained before Saturday's last game, but the silence is deafening.

Leeds face Rotherham United in their last Sky Bet Championship fixture on Saturday, and with the Millers saving their league status with a 2-0 win over Reading on Tuesday night, attention will be firmly fixed on the Cellino/Redfearn showdown.

Neil Redfearn has been responsible for a fine run of form in the second half of the season which has secured Leeds' Championship status with weeks to spare, when at Christmas the situation was looking dire. Furthermore, Leeds' former academy boss has bedded in a number of young, homegrown players and rejuvenated the careers of a string of established stars.

While this bodes well for the future of the club, may save Cellino considerable money in the transfer market this summer and falls in line with the Italian's stated objective of promoting youth and bringing down the average age of the squad, Redfearn has seen his position continually undermined in the last few weeks.   

With the good ship Leeds United sailing nicely along tranquil waters, it hit an unexpected sandbank when Redfearn's assistant Steve Thompson was suspended on April 2nd. Confusion still surrounds why this occurred. Mystery also surrounds the Mirco Antenucci situation, with interim chairman Andrew Umbers stating last week that Redfearn was made aware of the contract clause which would be triggered if the top scorer notched two more goals, but he stressed that Redfearn was not instructed to omit the Italian striker from his team.

Redfearn was left stranded even further by the sudden withdrawal of six players from the Leeds squad on the eve of the Charlton game on April 18th, with contradicting statements coming from the club, Redfearn and again, Andrew Umbers, in the aftermath.

Throughout all this Cellino has remained silent, wisely maintaining his stance of being under a Football League ban, although some public comments that he has made have significantly failed to back Redfearn in any way. So, as the clock ticks towards his return to the helm at Elland Road, Redfearn's position looks increasingly under threat.

Nobody is under any doubt that the decision on Redfearn is down to Cellino, and hence it is hardly surprising that the situation has dragged along unanswered in recent weeks. However, Redfearn's insistence that any contract extension for next season should be communicated to him prior to the last game on Saturday has opened up a compelling scenario where somebody has to make a move.

If Redfearn or Leeds United officially communicate that the popular Leeds boss has been granted a season's extension in the lead-up to Saturday's game, then the underlying suggestion is that Cellino has given the nod, and hence has contravened his Football League ban. This scenario appears to be the most unlikely.

Should the silence remain on the subject, it is likely that Cellino has spoken to Redfearn on the quiet, or he will address it as the most immediate issue when he officially returns to the club on Monday morning. But either way, the silence is damaging to Cellino's popularity at Elland Road, and for a man who loves to be in the headlines, it must be hugely tempting for Cellino to make some kind of public comment, whatever capacity he makes it in.  

Undoubtedly, the majority of Leeds fans feel that the securing of Neil Redfearn as head coach and the securing of the club's talented youngsters on long-term contracts is the natural way forward for the club, and any failure to do this may be the last straw for many, just at the time that season ticket renewal forms are landing on door mats.

It doesn't appear likely that official notification of this will be forthcoming on or before Saturday's last game, but we all know what the Twitter rumour mill is like, and it will be a huge surprise if some indication isn't heard on this over the weekend.

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