Leeds have made Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom their leading candidate to take over as manager, Sky Sports News understands.

The 40-year-old signed a new 12-month rolling contract at Barnsley last week but it is understood the deal contains a release clause and their Yorkshire rivals are keen to activate it.

Heckingbottom has been praised for his work with Barnsley since taking over as head coach from Lee Johnson when he joined Bristol City in 2016.

He took the club to promotion from Sky Bet League One as caretaker and won the EFL Trophy in his first season before a 14th-place finish in the second tier last term.

Thomas Christiansen was sacked by Leeds United on Sunday
Thomas Christiansen was sacked by Leeds United on Sunday

They are currently 21st and just a point above the relegation places. Nevertheless, he has been credited with developing players such as Alfie Mawson, Conor Hourihane, James Bree and Sam Winnall.

Leeds are looking for a new manager after sacking the Dane Thomas Christiansen on Sunday, following a 4-1 thrashing at home to Cardiff City on Saturday.

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The Whites have not won a league game since Boxing Day and have slipped out of the play-off places to 10th.

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