Redfearn boosts job prospects
JIMMY Floyd Hasselbaink and Robbie Fowler may be the star names looking to take charge at Elland Road, but caretaker boss Neil Redfearn reckons he has got Leeds ticking again.
Redfearn, promoted to his interim role from the club’s academy, saw his side earn a positive point away to Birmingham City as Alex Mowatt cancelled out Wes Thomas’ first-half effort.
Mowatt is a player Redfearn has pushed up to the first team during his spell in charge, evidence of his potential in the job.
And Redfearn believes the passing style adopted in the performance at St Andrew’s will lay the foundations for an upturn in fortunes.
“I thought we were excellent in the second half but for the entire 90 minutes we tried to pass the ball and get it down and play it,” he said.
“We lacked a bit in the first half and didn’t really look like scoring so that was the message at half-time. We’ve got to be brave to score and run off the ball and get into the box and get shots off.
“But after the second half we were excellent and deserved at least a point.
“Alex (Mowatt) is a brave boy and he gets on the ball and is prepared to have it. And he can play in tight areas.
“I thought some of his passing out of trouble was different class. I’ve told him he has to believe that is the way forward.
“There were times in the game where we had a lot of possession and flattened it, which was perfect for an away performance.
“We could have nicked it as we had two or three good chances but they may have had a penalty, so a point was a good result.”
Hosts Birmingham were dominant during the first half with Brek Shea testing Marco Silvestri early on and Giuseppe Bellusci was perhaps fortunate not to score in his own net.
They deservedly went ahead through Thomas, the striker killing a sharp pass at his feet before turning inside to shoot high past Silvestri on 37 minutes.
Leeds responded after the break, enjoying more of the possession, and finally got their reward as Mowatt capitalised on a poor clearance to level things up on 76 minutes.
Chances for substitute Rodolph Austin and Mowatt followed, with the latter seeing an effort cleared off the line.
Birmingham, meanwhile, were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty as Demarai Gray was fouled – leaving manager Lee Clark frustrated.
“I think there were lots of positives and we have been punished for an individual error, unfortunately,” said Clark.
“We move forward again, there were a lot of positives and we are a little frustrated that we didn’t leave with all three points.
“It was a great finish from Wes (Thomas) and it had been a tough day for him. He nearly didn’t play because his wife had gone into labour but was sent home.
“He made himself available straight away and went straight away after the game and hopefully he will have something to celebrate.
“We should have had a penalty and our penalty taker is ruthless from the spot, so I am a little frustrated. The boy doesn’t dive, I’ve seen him in training and their defender has left his leg there.”
THAT’S MOW TO DO IT: Elland Road youth team graduate Alex Mowatt scores Leeds’ equaliser
IN FRONT: Wes Thomas celebrates