Friday 23 March 2018

Warnock leads race for ‘great’ Leeds job

Glenn Moore

A QUIET life on the farm in Cornwall or a lively one working for Ken Bates?

That is the choice Neil Warnock could be faced with after Bates lost patience with Leeds manager Simon Grayson yesterday after Tuesday’s 4-1 home defeat to Birmingham.

Within minutes of Grayson being fired, Warnock, who turned down the Leeds chairman 20 years ago when he was at Notts County and Bates was at Chelsea, was installed as favourite to take over.

“It's a massive club,” said Warnock, who spent seven years managing Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United.

“Even in the third tier they were pulling in 30,000. It is a great job for whoever takes over.”

Warnock heads a list of managers that includes those who played at Chelsea under Bates (Gus Poyet, Roberto di Matteo), ex- Leeds players (Gordon Strachan, John Sheridan), out-of-work trio Steve Bruce, Dave Jones and Billy Davies and Lee Clark, who is impressing at Huddersfield. Warnock, though, appears the preferred candidate of Leeds fans, despite his association with Sheffield.

One post on a message board summed up the prevailing mood: “I can't stand the man, but he's proven at this level and God knows we're desperate.”

In the immediate wake of his dismissal by QPR last month, Warnock's inclination was to retire with his young family to Cornwall, but the nature of his departure rankled. In a 30-year management career he feels he has not had the chance to do himself justice in the top flight. Leeds could offer that. Even after picking up just eight points in eight matches, Leeds are only one win off the play-off places.

They have just sold Jonny Howson to Norwich, and Kasper Schmeichel, Max Gradel, Bradley Johnson and Jermaine Beckford have all left in the last 18 months.

Warnock would need to be convinced that Bates will spend; he knows there could yet be vacancies at Premier League clubs.

Compensation would be required for Clark, Poyet and probably Di Matteo.

Bruce is unlikely to be popular for his Manchester United links. Grayson was appointed in December 2008 and led Leeds out of League One, but results have dipped and Tuesday's gate was the first sub-20,000 league attendance in two years. (© Independent News Service)

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