Ex-Leeds United manager 'holds talks' with Whites Championship rivals as former Rangers boss is also targeted

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A handful of Leeds United's Championship rivals are currently without a manager

Former Leeds United boss Paul Heckingbottom has held 'initial talks' with Stoke City over their vacant managerial post, according to a report.

The Potters sacked Alex Neil on Sunday following a fourth-straight defeat and with the club sat 20th in the Championship. Neil's final game in charge was a 1-0 loss to Championship strugglers Sheffield Wednesday. He had been in charge at the club since August 2022 when he left Sunderland to take up the position, but could only muster a 16th-placed finish last term.

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Stoke are now on the hunt for their next head coach and Heckingbottom is one of the men who has reportedly held talks with the club, alongside former Birmingham City boss John Eustace and Michael Beale, who was sacked by Rangers earlier this season. That is according to The Telegraph's John Percy, who also reported Blackburn Rovers manager Jon Dahl Tomasson was 'admired' while there are 'a number' of other contenders.

Other names linked are ex-Fulham and Sheffield United boss Slaviša Jokanović while England Under-21s boss Lee Carsley is someone the club have reportedly met. Heckingbottom was recently sacked by Sheffield United following their tough start to the Premier League season.

He started his managerial career with Barnsley before joining Leeds in 2018. However, Heckingbottom had a short spell in charge at Elland Road between February 2018 and June 2018 as he won just four of 16 games at the helm, and was sacked at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.

The 46-year-old then enjoyed an unsuccessful spell at Hibs in the Scottish Premiership before taking on the managerial role at Sheffield United in November 2021. He led the club to the play-offs despite the Blades sitting way down the Championship on his arrival. They lost to Nottingham Forest in the play-offs but secured automatic promotion the following campaign and also reached the semi-final of the FA Cup.

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