Leeds United supporters in the Transfer Tavern have been reacting to the news that Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom has replaced the sacked Thomas Christiansen as the club’s new head coach.
44-year-old Christiansen was relieved of his duties after eight months in charge at Elland Road back on Sunday, with their 4-1 defeat at home to Cardiff City proving to be the final straw for the ex-APOEL chief. And the club have moved quickly to appoint a new manager, with former Darlington and Bradford City defender Heckingbottom drafted in as Christiansen’s replacement on Wednesday as the Yorkshire giants eye up a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2004.
Consequently, there has been much discussion among our resident Whites fans in the last few days regarding what the 40-year-old has to do to be a success at the club, with a variety of things mentioned given their recent run of poor form in losing four of their last six league games.
Yet one thing did crop up regularly from those Leeds supporters lining up at the bar, namely improving the club’s below-par home record.
Ultimately, it was their form at Elland Road that played a huge part in their run to seventh place in the Championship last season, winning 14 and losing just five of their 23 matches for the seventh best record in the division.
Add into that five wins from their nine matches against fellow top ten sides, and Garry Monk’s side made Elland Road a fortress last season – the sort of ground teams feared once again, just like it was in the past.
Yet this season has seen the Whites struggle for regular momentum at home, winning just six of their 15 league games at Elland Road so far, already matching their tally of five losses from last term with still eight matches to play.
They have played seven of the top ten at home already this term, but in that time have picked up just one victory – a 2-1 success over ninth place Middlesbrough back in November.
Their tally of 22 points in 15 matches gives them the 14th best home record in the table, while their away record of seven wins in 15 games sees them sit ninth in that particular table – it’s clear the home form needs improving quickly if they are to sustain a play-off push.
And with matches against fellow top half sides Bristol City, Brentford, and Wolves to come at home in the coming weeks, Heckingbottom has the chance to make Elland Road the fortress it was last season – doing so could well see Leeds start climbing the table once again.
And while there are a few things that clearly need sorting at the club, the former Barnsley boss simply has to start improving their home record if they are to bridge the gap to the top six between now and May, and thus push for a return to the top-flight.
Leeds fans… what do you think? Let us know!