Spen lad Redfearn in Elland Road hotseat

NEIL Redfearn has been the toast of many Leeds United supporters this week after masterminding a victory over Bristol City.

Redfearn took over as caretaker manager of the Elland Road club following the sacking of Simon Grayson last week and Leeds have confirmed he will be in charge for at least the next three games – against Brighton and Hove Albion (tomorrow), Coventry on Tuesday and Doncaster next Saturday.

However, it was on the local pitches around Birkenshaw that Dewsbury-born Redfearn began playing football.

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Redfearn, 46, attended Birkenshaw Middle and Whitcliffe Mount Schools, during which time he represented Spen Valley Schoolboys.

Neil’s father, Brian, was also a keen sportsman, playing professional football for Bradford Park Avenue and a good standard of cricket with East Bierley.

Redfearn played for a host of Football League clubs, including Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Watford, Bradford City and Wigan Athletic. He made a staggering 790 Football League appearances but it is for his spells at Oldham Athletic and Barnsley that he is best remembered.

Redfearn was part of the Oldham squad that reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1990, when they were edged out to Manchester United after a replay at Maine Road. He also scored the winning penalty which saw Oldham clinch promotion to the old first division that season.

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Redfearn went on to play 292 times for Barnsley between 1991-98 and missed just one game during their only season in the Premier League (1997/98) as he was top scorer.

After his league career ended, Redfearn moved into coaching and had spells at Halifax Town, Scarborough, Northwich Victoria and York City, before he took the job of youth team coach at Leeds United.

The impressive win at Ashton Gate was welcome news for Leeds and more success in the next three games may see him considered for the job on a permanent basis.

Redfearn said: “It’s a real honour to be asked to do this. It’s a difficult set of circumstances when someone loses their job, and Simon has done a tremendous job, but I’ve been in the game long enough to know how it works.

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“The most important thing is the football club and keeping moving forward. We did well on Saturday. It was a great result, but it’s the next game now and that’s Brighton.”

On the speculation Redfearn added: “What I want to do is make sure I do well while I’m here.

“If it is me (the next manager) great, if it isn’t I will support whoever comes in.”

Neil Redfearn salutes Leeds

United’s travelling support

after the win at Bristol City

last Saturday. (NS)