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Massimo Cellino lines up Leeds United candidates

2 June 2014

Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino will begin his search for a new manager this week and plans to interview as many as 10 candidates.

Former boss Brian McDermott, 53, parted company with the club by mutual consent on Friday night having spent just short of 14 months in charge. He signed a three-year contract when he replaced Neil Warnock in April 2013.

Cellino, 57, who completed a 75 per cent buy out of the club on April 7, has made it clear he wants to work with a first-team coach and not a 'manager'.

The Italian businessman appointed Benito Carbone as a consultant responsible for "technical and football operations" last month and has confirmed the former Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Bradford midfielder will not be replacing McDermott.

Former Chelsea midfielder and Watford manager Gianfranco Zola has been linked with the post but his agent, Fulvio Marrucco, told Press Association Sport in April that he will not be heading to Leeds.

Another Italian, Gianluca Festa, would appear to be high on the list of candidates. The former Middlesbrough defender appeared in line to succeed McDermott back in January when Cellino unsuccessfully tried to sack the former Reading manager.

Relatively unknown Dave Hockaday also emerged as one of the bookies' favourites for the job over the weekend.

The 56-year-old, who departed Forest Green Rovers by mutual consent in October last year, has previously worked as coach at Watford, Leicester and Southampton.

Hockaday refused to comment on the speculation when contacted by Press Association Sport.

Meanwhile Cellino, who has agreed to sell Italian Serie A club Cagliari to an unnamed American group fronted by Italian businessman Luca Silvestrone for a reported £69million, is scheduled to hold a meeting with Leeds' players and coaching staff on Monday.

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