Leeds United's search for a seventh head coach under controversial owner Massimo Cellino looks to have taken a further twist after Bristol Rovers confirmed that they have received an official approach from the Championship club for the services of manager Darrell Clarke. The 38-year-old is currently regarded as one of the hottest young managerial prospects in the Football League after guiding the Gas to back-to-back promotions.
Current Leeds chief Steve Evans signed a six-month rolling contract after replacing Uwe Rosler in last October, yet claims he is yet to be informed whether or not his services will be retained. The outspoken Scot, who is due to return to work on Wednesday (25 May), led his side to a 13th-place finish this season but his chances of staying at Elland Road seemed slim amid rumours that MK Dons stalwart Karl Robinson met with Cellino in London last week before reportedly rejecting the chance to take the reins. Brian McDermott, Dave Hockaday, Neil Redfearn and Darko Milanic are the other men to have managed Leeds since 2014.
"Bristol Rovers can confirm that they have received an approach from Leeds United to speak to Darrell Clarke regarding him taking over as manager at Elland Road," an official statement confirmed.
" As yet, the Yorkshire side have failed to meet the conditions set out by Rovers to enable any talks to take place and until that happens there is nothing else to report."
In a further development, Rovers announced that they have moved to offer Clarke a new contract to ward off any future interest. The former Mansfield Town and Hartlepool United midfielder, an assistant to predecessor John Ward, was unable to prevent Rovers' first relegation to non-league football for 94 years in May 2014 but remained as manager and oversaw a swift return thanks to a penalty shootout victory over Grimsby Town in the Conference play-off final at Wembley.
The former Salisbury Town boss then saw his stock rise higher still by masterminding automatic promotion to League One at the first attempt. Rovers have not competed in the third tier of English football since 2011.
"We can also confirm that Rovers have offered Darrell a new and improved three-year contract to remain as Bristol Rovers manager," the club continued. "Bristol Rovers will not make any further comment until, and unless, there have been any further developments."