Heckingbottom joined Leeds after getting cold feet on move to Championship big guns - Guardian
By Richard Parks
Paul Heckingbottom snubbed interest from Nottingham Forest and Sunderland before agreeing to become the Leeds United manager this week, according to a report.
The Guardian claim that both of United’s Championship rivals were alerted to the impact Heckingbottom had made at Barnsley, where he took permanent charge in February 2016 after two caretaker spells at the helm.
It is said that Forest were “keen” on appointing the 40-year-old former defender, while Sunderland made a firm proposal to him that he found interesting but he ultimately got “cold feet” about a move to the north-east strugglers.
Former European Cup winners Forest, who are 16th in the Championship, and long-established ex-Premier League outfit Sunderland, who are placed in 23rd, lag quite a way in the table behind Leeds, who are 10th with 44 points and harbour realistic hopes of securing a place in the end-of-season play-offs.
United’s two second-tier rivals have both changed managers this season, with Aitor Karanka taking over at the City Ground last month following the dismissal of Mark Warburton, while Chris Coleman was appointed by Sunderland in November after ex-Leeds boss Simon Grayson was sacked.
Heckingbottom has arrived at Leeds in succession to Thomas Christiansen, who was given his marching orders on Sunday night.
The former left-back has a high reputation in the game after steering Barnsley to League One promotion and then taking them to 14th in last season’s Championship despite selling star men Conor Hourihane and Sam Winnall midway through the campaign.
In other Leeds news, the club have been hit by yet another shattering senior player injury blow.
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