Former Bolton Wanderers man Neil Redfearn steps up to take charge of Leeds United as two teams clash

Caretaker Leeds boss Neil Redfearn

Caretaker Leeds boss Neil Redfearn

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

LEEDS United will again turn to former Wanderers midfielder Neil Redfearn in their hour of need after sacking manager Dave Hockaday six games into the season.

Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup exit against local rivals Bradford City sparked Elland Road chairman Massimo Cellino to axe Hockaday after just 70 days in charge.

Redfearn will take temporary charge of Leeds for the third time, having bridged the gap after the departures of Simon Grayson and Neil Warnock in the past.

The 49-year-old got his first taste of professional football at Burnden Park, making 41 appearances for the Whites between 1982 and 1984.

Redfearn is missing eight first-team regulars going into the game, and his opposite number Dougie Freedman believes the lack of bodies available to both men will mean there will be few tactical surprises this afternoon.

“I don’t think my own plans have changed too much because Leeds have only got a certain number of personnel and ways they can play,” he said of Hockaday’s sacking.

“We pretty much know what they have got attack-wise, and defensively.

“I’m sure the new manager (Redfearn) will change the shape a little bit, or one or two things, but it won’t be drastic and I won’t be worrying too much.

“On the flip of that we’ve got some very unfortunate injuries and we’re missing some big players right now.

“Both managers have a squad of players but I think at Elland Road both managers know what kind of team they’ll be facing because there aren’t many options available to us. It’s not much of a guessing game.”

Freedman hinted that he may switch systems to try and shore up his defence, after watching his side lose the lead in each of their last three league games.

Fans have clamoured for a two-man attack through much of the Scot’s near two-year reign but there have been signs in the last couple of games that the partnership of Craig Davies and Joe Mason up front is leaving his midfield with too much to do.

Freedman felt criticism of the diamond formation he has used in recent weeks was harsh, when pressed on the matter at his Friday press conference.

“We need to find some balance right now,” he said. “Don’t hit me with ‘you should be doing this and that’ because I think over the two years I’ve been here we’ve tried different systems.

“The fans said ‘play two up front’ and that’s what we’re doing. Next we need to stop conceding goals and we should be sitting back.

“We need to find that balance now. It comes down to not conceding once we’ve taken the lead and I think we’re close on that.

“We’ve done it in three of the last four games. We just need to hold on that little bit longer.”

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