CARETAKER Neil Redfearn can enhance his claims to be the next Leeds United manager if he can make it two wins from two in charge of the Whites when they take on Brighton tomorrow (Saturday).
Redfearn has been given at least three more games to impress and is now favourite to land the job on a permanent basis, but cannot afford a slip up in the first of them against play-off rivals Brighton, with who United are level on 45 points.
Ironically, Brighton boss Gus Poyet was one of the men immediately linked with the United managerial job, although he was also quick to distance himself from it.
Having won a relegation scrap then won promotion with the Seagulls, Poyet has done a great job with the south coast club and as a previous assistant manager at Elland Road, there were obvious links that saw his name put forward as a candidate, but chairman Ken Bates was none too happy when he walked out on Leeds to become assistant at Tottenham a few years back.
It all makes for an interesting backdrop to the game at Elland Road on Saturday, but there are important points to play for with both teams still right in the thick of things in the promotion race.
Redfearn made a winning start with a 3-0 success at Bristol City – admittedly helped by the hosts having two men sent-off – and he is likely to stick to the same 11 for his first game in charge at Elland Road.
Right-back Adam Smith, on loan from Tottenham, will make his home debut after a promising display at Ashton Gate, but Leeds’ other Spurs loanee, Andros Townsend, may have to settle for a place on the bench along with recent American signing Robbie Rogers, who has yet to play for the club.
Redfearn is expecting a tough test from a Brighton side unbeaten in eight games, during which time they knocked Newcastle out of the FA Cup.
He said: “He has got them playing and he is brave enough to have them playing out from the back.
“They have hit some form of late and they are up there in the current form guide as well. They are on a roll and they are doing it by playing good football, so it is going to be a tough test”