Leeds United play Barnsley FC this weekend at Elland Road, and if Paul Heckingbottom wants to continue as the head coach of Leeds, he absolutely needs to win this match. Heckingbottom left Barnsley under some dispute, as he left only a day after a contract extension was announced. Leeds also paid £500,000 to get Barnsely to release him from his contract and take up the reigns at Leeds. And while the players are largely responsible for the mess that Leeds are in right now, losing to the former squad of the head coach, who are currently fighting relegation, is an unacceptable result.
“It was bang out of order some of the things they said... they know that but they just wanted to save face I suppose.” @PhilHayYEP asks Paul Heckingbottom his thoughts on how he left Saturday’s opponents Barnsley. ⚽️ #lufc— Leeds United News (@LeedsUnitedYEP) April 19, 2018
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Heckingbottom might feel that some of the things that were said by Barnsley after he left to go to Leeds were “bang out of order,” and while he might be right, the point remains that Barnsley were slipping down the table under him and have continued to do so.
It’s also true that no lift whatsoever was seen in the form of Leeds after Heckingbottom took over. In fact, the Leeds has had an absolutely dismal record with Heckigbottom in charge of the team. While he’s dealt with a number of suspensions and injuries during his time at the club, the numbers paint a rather shocking picture of just how bad Leeds have been during his time at the club.
Since Feb 4th, Leeds have only gotten 10 points from two wins, four draws and seven losses, and would be in 22nd place in the table, with only Sunderland getting fewer points than Leeds during that stretch of time and would only ahead of Birmingham City on goal difference.
There is no way to look at those numbers and think that Heckingbottom is doing a great job. And while it would be madness to sack a manager a few months after hiring him, beating Barnsely at Elland Road is absolutely a job requirement at this point. The resources that have poured into the Leeds, while not a ton by Championship standards are still more than what is available at Oakwell. Barnsley has a better record, by one point, than Leeds have had since Heckingbottom traded South Yorkshire for West Yorkshire.
Yes, there have been a number of players missing through injury and suspension. These players really aren’t good enough to be in contention for a spot in the top six. However, at some point the results are down to the man who is in charge of motivating them, and if he can’t motivate them to get a win at home over Barnsley, then he’s not going to be able to motivate them to get into the playoffs next season.
Heckingbottom sounds like he has an axe to grind with the board at Barnsley, he knows the players, and Leeds already comfortably beat Barnsely at Oakwell earlier in the season. If this team can’t get up for this match, then Heckingbottom is the wrong choice for Leeds and needs to go, be it Sunday or in early May.