By Richard Parks

Paul Heckingbottom revealed at his media briefing that left-back Tom Pearce could be Leeds United’s next breakthrough player – and fans urged the manager to select him against Reading tomorrow (Saturday).

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 admitted yesterday 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, in what would represent a shock move, 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.

With Leeds’ hopes of securing a play-off spot in tatters, thoughts of supporters are turning to how the club can salvage something from a campaign that has failed to live up to expectations.

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A section of fans would like to see more academy products join Bailey Peacock-Farrell in the team after growing sick of the same mediocre displays from the senior men.

Leeds signed Belgian Laurens De Bock in January but he has struggled to settle into the team, with the versatile Vurnon Anita used on the left side of defence in the last few matches.

The response to Heckingbottom’s revelation about Pearce was overwhelmingly positive, including “exciting news” and “please play him then”.

Here is a selection of their messages on Twitter:

 

In other Leeds United news, it can be revealed that the club have launched a bid to sign a Premier League centre-forward in the form of his life.

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