If Heckingbottom does not do this immediately, Leeds can forget about the play-offs
Paul Heckingbottom has a number of challenges on his hands after taking over as the new Leeds manager on Tuesday, but none are bigger than sorting the ill discipline that’s currently plaguing the club.
After a fast start his side is in danger of losing pace with the teams at the top of the table.
Leeds are currently in 10th and seven points behind Bristol City who are in sixth. They haven’t won in the Championship since Boxing Day – a run of six games that’s seen them draw two and lose four.
And the upcoming fixtures are not easy.
Their next three Championship fixtures are all against promotion hopefuls, away against Sheffield United on Saturday, then at home to Bristol City before an away trip to second-placed Derby County.
If Leeds lose all of these games their play-off run would be over.
But there’s one thing that Heckingbottom must sort out with his players before he can even begin to think about a run of results – the players’ discipline.
After Gaetano Berardi was sent off against Cardiff on Saturday, it meant that Leeds had had four players sent off in the last five games.
Berardi will now have a two-match ban and Samu Saiz, arguably Leeds’ best player so far this season, has still got two games of a six-match ban to serve for spitting in the FA Cup game against Newport.
This has had a devastating effect on Thomas Christiansen’s reign at Leeds and it’s the first thing that Heckingbottom needs to sort out.
You could say that some of it is bad luck, but that would be missing the point.
The Leeds players have a duty to the club and at the moment that means not losing discipline and ensuring 11 players stay on the pitch.
And not just in Saturday’s game, but for the rest of the season.
If they can do that, and then string some results together, the Leeds march to the play-offs might be back on.
In other Leeds news, this is what Heckingbottom had to say about suspended Leeds star Samu Saiz
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