Date: 5th February 2018 at 11:48am
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EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke

Leeds United are lining up a shock move for Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom as they search for a new manager, Football Insider sources understand.

Leeds are looking for a new head coach after Thomas Christiansen was axed after only eight months in charge at Elland Road following a poor run of form.

Football Insider exclusively broke the news at 8.40pm that United were to dispense with the services off the 44-year-old, which was confirmed in an official statement nearly an hour later.

A well-placed source close to the club has now told Football Insider that Heckingbottom is a surprise name in the frame for the Leeds job despite only recently signing a new deal at Barnsley and that United are considering whether to activate his release clause as they weigh up an official swoop.

Former defender Heckingbottom is regarded as one of the brightest young coaches in England after impressing in his role at Barnsley.

The 40-year-old guided the Tykes to promotion to the Championship in the 2015/16 season and victory in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy while serving as caretaker before being appointed as the club’s head coach in June 2016.

Heckingbottom signed a new rolling contract last week at Barnsley, but Football Insider sources understand the new deal includes a release clause.

Leeds are expected to make a swift appointment to succeed Christiansen and the club may decide to look for someone out of work rather than meet Heckingbottom’s release clause.

In other Leeds United news, a 48-year-old has been installed as the huge favourite to be the club’s next manager.

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