Neil Redfearn insists he is focused only on Leeds United, following speculation that he could be a candidate to succeed Danny Wilson at Barnsley.
The Oakwell club are looking for a new manager after sacking Wilson on Thursday, bringing an end to his second spell in charge of League One side. During his time period at the helm, from 1994 to 1998, he pulled off a massive coup by leading them to the Premier League. The 55-year-old returned in December 2013, but was unable to prevent them from slipping out of the Championship.
This time round the Tykes are currently 17th in the third-tier and just seven points above the relegation zone. It looked as though an upturn in fortune could be on the cards when they beat Port Vale and Oldham Athletic in successive matches recently, but they have since lost to Swindon Town and, on Tuesday, Fleetwood Town, the latter proving to be Wilson’s final game in charge.
The first name to be linked with the vacancy is Redfearn, who captained the club during their brief spell in the top-flight. In total the 49-year-old played over 300 matches for Barnsley in all competitions, so it is perhaps inevitable that he would be linked with the job. However, despite the troubles he has in his current post as Leeds United manager, he has no plans to quit Elland Road.
“I’m really enjoying the opportunity I’ve been given,” said Redfearn. “This is a massive club and this is the club I supported as a boy. It’s not the same club I supported as a boy, because obviously time changes football clubs, but it’s still Leeds United and it still stands for being a big club. There’s a lot of people here who have put a lot of hard work in and who are trying to put the club on a lot better footing.
“I had good times at Barnsley, really successful times at Barnsley. It was the most successful time in the club’s history and Danny was obviously instrumental in all of that. He’s a top manager and he’s a top guy and I’m pretty sure he will be back in football at some point. You don’t like to see anybody losing their job. The idea is for clubs to be able to build and plan and get better and managers need time to do that.”
Leeds are currently in a relegation fight of their own, but their cause was boosted on Tuesday night when they recorded an impressive 2-0 win at fellow strugglers Reading. Despite this much-needed tonic, they remain just five points ahead of the bottom three with 16 matches of the campaign still to play, a programme which continues with the visit of third-bottom Millwall on Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Whites have been dealt a blow with confirmation that Tommaso Bianchi will not feature again this season due to a knee injury. The summer signing from Sassuolo damaged ligaments in the won at the Madejski Stadium, and this has forced Redfearn to step up his chase for loan additions. He said: “If we can get the right players in, I think it’s still important that we do that.”