Leeds United: Heckingbottom admits Wiedwald's place is on the line '“ but he's not the only one
Leeds lost 3-0 at The Riverside on Friday night, a defeat in which the much-criticised Wiedwald was culpable for the second goal, and Heckingbottom is pondering his next move with a home game against Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers awaiting United on Wednesday.
Wiedwald was a £500,000 recruit last summer, brought in from Werder Bremen and quickly installed as first-choice ahead of Rob Green, but his season has been littered with errors and his failure to stop a speculative shot from Patrick Bamford in the first half on Friday put the striker on course for a 38-minute hat-trick.
Former Leeds head coach Thomas Christiansen, who Heckingbottom replaced last month, dropped Wiedwald in October and gave Andy Lonergan a short run of appearances before recalling Wiedwald to his line-up before Christmas.
Lonergan, though, has missed the past two matches with a neck problem and was on the verge of a move to Sunderland in January before the transfer fell through. Twenty-year-old Bailey Peacock-Farrell has taken his place on the bench and was part of Heckingbottom’s squad at Middlesbrough.
Asked if Wiedwald’s position was one his needed to consider, Heckingbottom said: “Yes, definitely. Every player will be the same but yes it is.
“It’s something that over the games we’re looking at - areas to improve.”
Heckingbottom fielded an unchanged line-up at The Riverside on the back of a 1-0 win over Brentford, his first victory as United’s head coach.
Adam Forshaw – Leeds’ £3m signing from Middlesbrough in January – was left out of the team having missed the Brentford game to attend the birth of his son but Heckingbottom was forced to throw on him and Ronaldo Vieira from the bench at half-time with Leeds 2-0 down.
“It (the team chosen) was to reward what had been really good in the previous game,” Heckingbottom said. “You have to give that reward and I felt it would have been wrong to bring Adam straight back in.”
Wolves routed Leeds 4-1 at Molineux in November and already have one hand on automatic promotion having cruised past the 70-point mark.
But Heckingbottom said: “It’s probably the perfect game - the best team in this league so far, at home with a big crowd. It’s the perfect game for us.”