Barnsley’s Paul Heckingbottom set to be appointed as new Leeds United coach

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LEEDS UNITED are set to finalise the appointment of Paul Heckingbottom as their new head coach tonight after activating a clause to release him from his contract at Barnsley.

The Oakwell boss is due to conclude negotiations at Elland Road this evening and should be installed in time to take charge of training at Thorp Arch tomorrow morning.

Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

Leeds have moved quickly to recruit Heckingbottom, less than 24 hours after sacking Thomas Christiansen and just three days after the 40-year-old signed a new contract with Barnsley.

The former Bradford City and Sheffield Wednesday defender put pen to paper on an improved rolling deal at Oakwell on Friday but his contract included a release clause and Leeds moved to finance it earlier today having sacked Christiansen late last night.

Royston-born Heckingbottom, who grew up as a Barnsley supporter and played for the club between 2006 and 2008, has been manager at Oakwell since 2016.

He took charge of his 100th competitive last month and secured an improved deal following the recent takeover of Barnsley.

Despite the regular sale of key players, Heckingbottom took Barnsley to promotion via the League One play-off final in his first six months in the job and also claimed the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

His side finished 14th in the Championship last season but have struggled this term and lie fourth from bottom in the table after one win from 16 games.

Leeds, however, see Heckingbottom as a highly-talented coach and are ready to install him as Christiansen’s successor. He turned down the Sunderland job earlier this season and was strongly linked with Nottingham Forest last month before ruling himself out of the running.

Christiansen was sacked on Sunday after 35 games in charge with Leeds seven points off the Championship play-offs.