Why Leeds Can Reignite Their Promotion Push With A Derby Win
Leeds’ new manager Paul Heckingbottom will be hoping that they can reignite their promotion dreams with a Yorkshire derby win. A new era has started for Leeds under former Barnsley manager Heckingbottom and he will want to get the fans on his side as quickly as possible, and a win against promotion rivals and fellow Yorkshire team Sheffield United would send a message that Leeds United are still a force to be reckoned with.
Thomas Christiansen will not look back on his time in Yorkshire with particular fondness. As a manager, his attitude in hindsight appears to be quite naive. He wanted to win every game, meaning they had some very impressive results like beating Burton 5-0 and beating high flying Bristol City 3-0 away from home but a team like Leeds cannot afford to go through all of January without winning and Christiansen paid the price for not delivering on his early season promise.
A mounting injury list and the excellent form of teams around them could have been mitigating factors but Christiansen had lost the fans, and many people could see that the writing was on the wall, long before they lost 4-3 at home to Millwall.
Paul Heckingbottom is a young ambitious manager who only signed a new contract with Barnsley a few weeks ago. But when a job like Leeds becomes available, you can’t turn it down. As a player, Heckingbottom was a lower league journeyman, turning out for clubs like Bradford and Barnsley, before going on to be the manager of the Tykes.
He took the Yorkshire side to two Wembley appearances and managed to finish 14th in the Championship last season, on a budget significantly smaller than almost all the other teams in the league. This season, Barnsley have struggled once again but they currently sit outside the relegation zone and that is all down to the work of Heckingbottom.
Although the two clubs are geographically very close to each other, the step up from Barnsley to Leeds United couldn’t be starker. Heckingbottom has been brought in to revive Leeds’ season and he will have quite a job on his hands. However, the rewards for doing well in this job would surpass anything he would be able to achieve at Barnsley, and the Premier League is still a realistic aim for the Whites if Heckingbottom gets across his ideas to the players quickly. A win against Sheffield United would surely reignite their promotion push.