Peacock-Farrell: I'd love to keep the number one spot at Leeds United next season
Bailey Peacock-Farrell has urged Leeds United to give him the chance to start next season as first-choice goalkeeper after his impressive breakthrough at Elland Road.
The 21-year-old is hoping to see Leeds back him this summer and reward the performances which have pushed him ahead of senior keepers Felix Wiedwald and Andy Lonergan.
Peacock-Farrell was drafted into United’s starting line-up a month ago, two years after making his senior debut, following Wiedwald’s loss of form and confidence and a neck injury sustained by Lonergan.
The former Middlesbrough youngster has caught the eye with a series of commanding displays, including another strong performance in Friday night’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
Leeds are likely to target a new goalkeeper during the forthcoming transfer window with Wiedwald set to move on from Elland Road following a poor first season in England.
The German arrived from Werder Bremen on a three-year contract last June, replacing Rob Green as Leeds’ number one, but United are expected to cut their losses on a £500,000 signing having watched Wiedwald struggle in the Championship.
Lonergan, meanwhile, was on the verge of a move to Sunderland in the January transfer window and has just 12 months left on his deal at United.
Head coach Paul Heckingbottom has so far refused to say if he sees Peacock-Farrell as a potential first-choice next season but speaking after Friday’s game at Villa Park, Peacock-Farrell said: “I think I’m growing in every single game I’m playing in.
“I don’t feel out of depth and I’m enjoying the moment.
“In my opinion I can do it. But it’s up to the gaffer for next season, who he decides to play. It’s far away.
“Obviously there’s room for improvement in all my performances but I’m happy to keep the shirt and keep the number one spot. Hopefully I can finish the season and play the rest of the games.”
Peacock-Farrell, who turned professional with Leeds in 2015, is yet to keep a clean sheet but the youngster has been a strong last line of defence in a team who are struggling badly. United have claimed two wins from 19 league games since Boxing Day and are stuck in the bottom half of the Championship.
Heckingbottom took issue with Peacock-Farrell’s attitude after taking charge as head coach in February, saying saying he had become “a bit static”.
Peacock-Farrell, however, made the most of an opportunity to start against champions-in-waiting Wolverhampton Wanderers on March 7 and has remained in Heckingbottom’s line-up ever since.
“He’s shown his confidence in me and really thrust me in the deep end,” Peacock-Farrell said.
“I think as a young player, sometimes you just need to get thrown in the deep end.
“You sink or swim and I think I’ve been swimming recently. Sometimes you just need to wait for your chance.”