By Richard Parks

Leeds United manager Paul Heckingbottom has revealed at his Thursday media briefing that left-back Tom Pearce could be the club’s next breakthrough player.

The academy product, 19, has been named in the United matchday squad on three occasions this season, twice in the league and once in the FA Cup, but is yet to make his senior debut.

Heckingbottom has admitted that the rising star is on his radar as a result of his “really good attributes” and that he has a “chance” of being fast-tracked into the team following a wretched run of one win in 13 matches dating back to Boxing Day.

Intriguingly, the United boss explained that he also enquired about the possibility of signing Pearce when he was manager of Barnsley, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post correspondent Phil Hay via his personal Twitter account on Thursday.

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With Leeds’ hopes of securing a play-off spot in tatters, thoughts are turning to how the club can salvage something from a campaign that has failed to live up to expectations. The chickens came home to roost in midweek when Leeds were comprehensively beaten 3-0 at home by Wolves, and would have been annihilated but for a brilliant performance from Bailey Peacock-Farrell, making just his second appearance for the club. Fans would like to see more academy products join Peacock-Farrell in the team after growing sick of the same mediocre displays from the senior men. Pearce is increasingly being talked up as a result of his Under-23s standout displays. With Leeds particularly weak in the full-back positions, now could be the ideal time to unleash the teenager.

In other Leeds United transfer news, the club have agreed the terms of an £8.5million deal, with the first payment scheduled for the summer.

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