Leeds United: Peacock-Farrell’s future in doubt after contract deadline passes

Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
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Leeds United goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s future is in doubt after a deadline set for him to accept a new contract passed without a decision.

Peacock-Farrell had hoped to sign a two-year extension this week but talks with United over the weekend failed to bring the two sides to an agreement.

The 19-year-old, who made his first-team debut last month, has not formally rejected Leeds’ offer but a deadline set by the club for yesterday elapsed with the situation unresolved.

Peacock-Farrell - the only out-of-contract first-team player at Elland Road to be handed improved terms - is understood to have asked United for clarity about the identity of their next head coach, the club’s likely choice for the position of goalkeeping coach and their plans for him next season.

Current first-team boss Steve Evans, the coach who gave Peacock-Farrell his debut, is expected to lose his job following the conclusion of United’s Championship campaign but Leeds and owner Massimo Cellino are still to confirm his departure or decide on a replacement.

United, meanwhile, have lost goalkeeping coach Richard Hartis - someone who worked closely with Peacock-Farrell this season - to the England youth set-up and have not replaced him at this stage.

Cellino said recently that he would discuss plans for next season at a meeting of United’s board this Wednesday but he raised questions about his own future by claiming on Friday that he was ready to sell his majority stake in the club on the back of another fraught year in charge.

The Italian described himself as “tired” and said he should “never” have bought Leeds in April 2014, despite seeing his position strengthened by a successful bid to overturn a pending 223-day ownership ban imposed on him by the Football League.

Amid questions about United’s future direction, Peacock-Farrell has also been attempting to clarify his own 
prospects for next season. The teenager has acted as understudy to first-choice keeper Marco Silvestri since November and he made his first senior appearance in a 1-1 draw against Queens Park Rangers at the start of April.

The former Middlesbrough youngster is pushing for guarantees that he will retain some senior involvement next term but the imminent return of Ross Turnbull, who has been absent since breaking an ankle in October, could threaten Peacock-Farrell’s place on the bench.

The experienced Turnbull is almost recovered from two operations and expects to be fit for the start of pre-season training. “I don’t think I’ve ever said before in my career that I’m looking forward to pre-season, but I am this year,” Turnbull said.

“If everything goes to plan, by the end of May I should be in a decent place.”

Leeds would be entitled to compensation if Peacock-Farrell chooses to quit Elland Road on account of his age.

The teenager has been linked with several Premier League sides since he broke into United’s squad.