By Coral Barry
Andy Ritchie has urged Leeds to take a leaf out of Brighton’s book as the Whites stall on confirming their permanent manager.
Brighton suffered play-off heartbreak this week, but immediately refocused for next season’s campaign with manager Chris Hughton signing a new long-term deal and Ritchie believes Leeds are miles off competing for promotion.
It is still unclear whether Steve Evans will be in charge next season, but owner Massimo Cellino has fuelled the feeling he is merely biding his time until he brings the axe down on the Scotsman.
One possibility is that Cellino is simply waiting for Evans’ contract to expire, but with the Whites boss tied down until the end of June, Leeds have yet to begin preparations for next season and Ritchie believes the owner’s strategy is hurting the club.
“The situation is so tough for Steve Evans,” said Ritchie writing in his Yorkshire Evening Post column. “He will want to get going with planning for next season and as it stands, Leeds are losing a march on every single team in the division again.
“They are not in the transfer market; okay they have set out the released list now – but anybody can do that. Every team does that.
“Is there the work behind the scenes which has been done and sorted in regards to getting targets in? That should be done.
“It’s all about planning. Look at Brighton; the day after a big disappointment in losing in the play-offs, Chris Hughton signs a four-year deal. That’s forward planning.
“You cant do anything like that at Leeds as you just don’t know what is going on.”
Leeds have announced the departure of 13 players, but have yet to begin any concrete transfer plans for incoming players next season, while Evans says he will continue to prepare for pre-season.
Ritchie believes the situation at Leeds is “ridiculous” and has been unimpressed with Cellino’s conduct and running of the club.
He said: “Obviously, there has been the news this week that Massimo Cellino and Leeds have been charged by the FA regarding breaching regulations with the sale of Ross McCormack to Fulham. The club are just never out of the headlines, are they?
“It is ridiculous and then Cellino says he regrets buying the club. It just really needs sorting out, doesn’t it?”
In other Leeds news, Peter Lorimer has jumped to the defence of the under pressure Whites owner.