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Paul Heckingbottom officially named Leeds United boss

Former Barnsley boss takes over on a 18 month contract

Fulham v Barnsley - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Well, it’s official.

Paul Heckingbottom has been named first team head coach of Leeds United tonight. The former Barnsley manager takes over a reeling Leeds side that has taken only two points since Boxing Day, and had also crashed out of the FA Cup at Newport County, despite beating the League Two side 5-1 back in August in the League Cup.

Thomas Christiansen was sacked Sunday night after another loss with another red card. The club has seen red seven times this season, and were missing four players through suspension on Saturday. It might be a little unfair to place all of the blame on the shoulders of Christiansen, but when things go pear-shaped, it’s the manager (or in this case, head coach) that feels the heat first.

Heckingbottom has a mixed record in charge of Barnsley FC. One the one hand, he had a successful half season in charge last year, leading Barnsley FC to eighth place in the table before having half the squad sold out from underneath him. The club has struggled this season as well, given that most of the quality players left the club, he’s been dealing with a side lacking in quality.

One of the encouraging factors, however, of Heckingbottom is the work he’s done with the younger players at Barnsley. Bringing in young players and getting them into the first team will be a priority for Leeds after all of the investment in youth this season. Leeds have relied on seasoned players this season, however a lot of the younger players brought in have yet to live up to the hype, and some, like Conor Shaughnessy, have not seemed to progress once the season started.

Fans at Barnsely generally seem upset to see him go, especially to a local rival, and other people in football generally think that he’s done a good a job at Barnsley, despite the recent downturn in form. Will he work out at Leeds? He’s got 16 games to prove it to Victor Orta and the fans that he can.