Leeds United line up Sam Allardyce as an emergency measure to save their troubled Premier League season

RELEGATION-THREATENED Leeds United have turned to Sam Allardyce as an emergency measure to try and rescue their crisis-hit season - with the veteran expected to replace Javi Gracia.

Leeds are in advanced discussions with the former England manager, 68, with head coach Gracia set to leave after less than two-and-a-half months in charge - with United's Premier League status in grave peril after a shambolic sequence of recent results.

Various reports suggest he could be unveiled today with the 68-year-old having been offered a heavily-incentivised deal.

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Director of football Victor Orta - who brought Gracia to Elland Road - left the club by mutual consent on Tuesday after just under six years in West Yorkshire.

Sam AllardyceSam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce

Orta, who had a spell as recruitment chief at Middlesbrough prior to joining Leeds, had increasingly been the subject of supporters' anger in recent times and matters came to a head in Sunday's pitiful 4-1 defeat at Bournemouth with fans calling on him to leave the club.

With their season unravelling at a rate of knots, Leeds - who have just four games remaining in their season and are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference - have contacted Allardyce, who has been out of work since leaving West Brom in the summer of 2021, as a contingency plan to replace Gracia.

Allardyce, who is well known to Leeds managing director Angus Kinnear from their time together at West Ham, has successful previous experience of keeping clubs in the top-flight - having led three Premier League clubs to safety in the past in Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Everton.

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Leeds have lost four of their last five matches, taking one point from the last available 15, They conceded the most goals ever in a calendar month in April, 23 in seven matches.

Alongside chants directed against Orta on Sunday, the club's hierarchy came under fire with cries of 'Sack the board" from furious away supporters on the south coast.

In the aftermath of that defeat, crisis talks were staged among those in the corridors of power at Leeds, with Orta - whose signings over the past two seasons have been widely criticised - being the first casualty. He is said to have considered resigning back in January.

Owner Andrea Radrizzani said: “I am deeply saddened by the way that this chapter closes as Victor has been responsible for some of the best moments of my time as owner of Leeds United and I thank him and his people for all they have done in the past six years.

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“However, it is clear that it is time to change direction and therefore we have agreed that Victor will leave the club."

Allardyce is understood to have offered his services to the troubled Elland Road club back in February when Leeds sacked Jesse Marsch.

If he takes over, as expected, he is likely to be assisted by former Oxford United manager Karl Robinson, who worked with him during his time in charge at Blackburn Rovers.

Leeds's relegation run-in is daunting. On Saturday, they visit leaders and reigning champions Manchester City and welcome a Newcastle United side pushing for Champions League qualification the following weekend.

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They visit West Ham in their penultimate fixture of the campaign - and final away game - on May 21 before hosting Tottenham Hotspur in their last match of the season seven days later.

Despite a run of teak-tough fixtures this May, Radrizzani is clinging onto the hope that Leeds can somehow earn themselves a reprieve with three other clubs in Everton, Nottingham Forest and Leicester City firmly in the relegation mix alongside them.

Just one point currently separates those four clubs, from second-from-bottom Everton up to 16th-placed Leicester.

With rock-bottom Southampton destined to take up one of the relegation spots, there is effectively a four-way fight to avoid two other places in the bottom three.

Radrizzani continued: “I understand supporters are hurt and upset, but now is a time for unity.

“We have four cup finals left to play this season and working together, I believe we can survive.”