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New Rotherham manager: Neil Redfearn favourite, but Dean Smith could still be a candidate

Rotherham are closing in on their new manager, with an appointment possible before the end of the week.

The Millers' search for Steve Evans' replacement is only 10 days old, but the interview process is at an advanced stage, with former Leeds boss Neil Redfearn the apparent front runner.

That development came on Wednesday after it was confirmed that Walsall had become the second League One club to turn down an approach from the Millers to talk to their manager, following Burton's rejection over an advance for Jimmy Floyd Haselbaink last week.

The Millers tried to seek permission to speak to Saddlers boss Dean Smith, who has led the West Midlands club into the top two of the third tier - behind only Burton - only to be given short shrift.

A club statement from Walsall read: “The club can confirm it received an approach from a Championship club for permission to speak to Dean Smith. This approach was categorically rejected. 

"As one of the longest-serving managers in the country, Dean has been instrumental in the club’s progress since his appointment and is fundamental to our future plans."

However, the Millers' pursuit of Smith may still have some distance to run as as the Saddlers boss is thought to be keen on the New York Stadium job and would like the opportunity to talk to chairman Tony Stewart.

But with Walsall's very public declaration of intent to keep Smith, Redfearn appears to be in the box-seat for the job after impressing during his interview earlier this week.

The 50-year-old, who stated his desire for the job just hours after Evans left, fits the criteria set out by Stewart, with his ability to develop young talent at the club proven during his time at Elland Road.

If Redfearn does get the role, he is certain to have much more of a stress-free time than he had at Elland Road, where his position was undermined by the antics of owner Massimo Cellino.

He steered Leeds to mid-table in the Championship last season, averting a relegation fight, but was replaced by Uwe Rosler and left after being unable to return to his previous role as the club's academy manager.

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