Richard Sutcliffe: No surprises as Massimo Cellino kicks off search for his seventh Leeds United head coach
MASSIMO CELLINO tonight stepped up the search for the seventh head coach of his controversial Leeds United reign after parting company with Steve Evans.
The Elland Road club dismissed the Scot after just seven months in charge.
Evans’s departure came as no surprise, nor necessarily was the timing with Cellino due back at the club this afternoon following a period away.
In recent weeks, the Italian had made little secret of his desire to bring in a new head coach. He is understood to have met Milton Keynes Dons manager Karl Robinson 10 days ago, while an approach was also made to speak to Bristol Rovers chief Darrell Clarke. The Pirates knocked that request back and subsequently agreed a new three-year deal with Clarke.
Cellino’s search then took him to Italy early last week, sources close to the United owner indicating he met with a foreign coach who “spoke very good English” to discuss a possible move to Yorkshire.
It was further suggested that the Italian was interested in Tommy Wright, Paul Heckingbottom’s right-hand man at Barnsley and a former Leeds favourite, working alongside an appointment from overseas.
Cellino was at Wembley last Sunday as the Reds clinched promotion via the League One play-off final, though it is believed the reason was a scouting trip to watch Sam Winnall – a past target of Evans – and Alfie Mawson.
Previously, the Italian had indicated publicly that Leeds’s next head coach would be from abroad. Despite that public vow, the Yorkshire club did consider John Sheridan before the former United midfielder opted to join Notts County.
Evans was informed of his dismissal this afternoon.
Also leaving is his assistant Paul Raynor. The duo were in charge for 38 games. As the pair were clearing their desks, Garry Monk became the latest in a long line of odds-on favourites with the bookmakers to take charge.
Meanwhile, Evans’s former club Rotherham United are edging closer to naming Alan Stubbs as their new manager.
The Millers are in discussions with Hibernian over a possible compensation package for the 44-year-old, who just last month led the Edinburgh club to the Scottish Cup.
Stubbs is understood to have met United chairman Tony Stewart today and agreement has been reached over a three-year contract. Hibs are believed to want around £120,000 in compensation.