Leeds United hope to appoint Paul Heckingbottom this week as Barnsley boss faces big decision

The Tykes boss is torn between staying at Oakwell and the opportunities on offer with Leeds

Ed Malyon
Monday 05 February 2018 17:07
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Paul Heckingbottom is Leeds' first choice
Paul Heckingbottom is Leeds' first choice

Paul Heckingbottom faces a dilemma over his future, with Leeds United having made the Barnsley boss their top choice to replace Thomas Christiansen.

Christiansen was sacked on Sunday night after falling seven points adrift of the playoff places and Leeds executives have wasted no time in making the young Barnsley manager their priority.

40-year-old Heckingbottom was promoted by the Tykes after Lee Johnson's departure for Bristol City in 2016 and remains thankful to the club that gave him his big break, but the Elland Road club are preparing to make an attractive financial offer to lure the up-and-coming coach across Yorkshire.

Before the clash between Leeds and Barnsley last year, Heckingbottom revealed he 'hated' Leeds as a kid.

“When I was growing up, where I was from, you were a Barnsley fan or a Leeds fan when you played in the field behind my house," he said at the time.

“It was Leeds against Barnsley and the Leeds lads were always older than us and always used to kick smoke out of us. We hated Leeds and they hated us and that is how it was.

“You understand the support they have got and the size of the club and the tradition as it was always rammed down your throat with them bragging about it."

Despite those comments, Heckingbottom is aware that his chances of reaching the upper echelons of the Championship and possibly even the Premier League would be far greater at a club of Leeds' size and greater financial means.

Elland Road sources confirmed that Heckingbottom is top choice for the job, and also said that former England manager Steve McClaren wasn't under consideration right now.

Heckingbottom only signed a contract extension with Barnsley last week but the compensation terms are understood to not be a barrier to Leeds prising him away from Oakwell should the 40 year-old decide his time at the club is up.

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