Brian McDermott is the early frontrunner for the Leeds United job.
The Whites are in the market for a new manager after Neil Warnock quit on Easter Monday, following a 2-1 home defeat to Derby County which all but ended their playoff chances. Although there are still six matches remaining, the Elland Road outfit sit exactly halfway in the Championship table, and some eight points behind sixth placed Brighton & Hove Albion.
Warnock always stated that he would quit the Yorkshire club if he failed to earn promotion to the Premier League, and he feels by standing down now, the new manager can benefit from the remainder of the campaign whilst preparing for a renewed bid next term.
A club statement read: “The decision has been taken with a view to preparing for the 2013/14 season and Neil Redfearn will be asked to take control of first team coaching until a permanent appointment is made. This may well be after the end of the season dependent on the availability of the club’s preferred choice to become the next manager.
“A shortlist has already been prepared as Neil was always going to leave in the event that we did not get promotion. However, with availability of suitable candidates changing all the time then we will adopt a flexible approach, so as to ensure that we make the right appointment.”
McDermott, who was controversially sacked by Reading last month, has emerged as the early contender to succeed Warnock. The 51-year-old spent four years in charge of the Madejski Stadium club, and last season led them to the Premier League by winning the Championship title.
Although he won the Manager of the Month award in January after overcoming a difficult start to the season, the Royals lost four successive matches from 9 February to 9 March, leaving them in deep relegation trouble. Despite sacking McDermott they have been unable to prevent this slide, having lost their two matches since to sit seven points adrift of safety.
Mark Hughes, who was sacked by Queens Park Rangers earlier this season just as Warnock was last, is also a contender. Martin O’Neill, axed by Sunderland on Saturday, is another potential option, whilst it is widely believed that Brighton boss Gus Poyet has his admirers at Elland Road after impressing during a brief spell as assistant manager to Dennis Wise from October 2006 to October 2007.