By Coral Barry

Andy Ritchie believes Massimo Cellino is attempting to force manager Steve Evans to quit Leeds.

Leeds owner Cellino has been publicly pursuing a new manager despite the fact that Evans returned to work at Elland Road last week.

The six-month rolling contract Evans signed in October is due to expire at the end of June and it has been speculated for quite some time that the Leeds boss will not be offered a permanent deal.

Bristol Rovers manager Darrell Clark and MK Dons boss Karl Robinson have both rejected the Elland Road post in the last few weeks and Ritchie says the only reason for Cellino’s behaviour is to back Evans into a corner.

“Speaking to other head coaches whilst Steve is still in charge is not very classy is it? Well. I don’t think it is,” said Ritchie speaking to the Yorkshire Post.

“And how does Steve put up with it? For me, it seems as though they are trying to force him out and make him quit. It looks like they are trying to force his hand, if you like.”

Evans fulfilled the remit he was given when he took over from the sacked Uwe Rosler last year and steered the Whites away from the relegation zone, eventually climbing to a 13th-placed finish in the Championship.

The 53-year-old has stated again and again that he would love to take over as the permanent manager of Leeds and has promised on several occasions that promotion would be on the cards if he was to be given the job.

Ritchie believes the constant change of managers – Evans is Cellino’s sixth appointment since 2014 – is bad news for the club and thinks the players have to be getting frustrated with the way the Italian runs the club.

“I think we need to have that stability and if we have a new head coach there will be people that he won’t want at the football club, he’ll want to bring new people in and there will be uncertainty again with the players.

“I just feel it’s too much change every three or four months and the players must be getting sick of it, I would have thought.”

In other Leeds news, Whites youngster Lewis Cook is being targeted by a Premier League club yet again.