Leeds United’s current manager, Paul Heckingbottom has reportedly taken premeditated steps to replace Felix Wiedwald as the club’s number 1 goalkeeper for the following season. With 9 games left in the regular season and hopes of earning promotion nested far from the realms of possibility, the 27-year-old is expected to see out the remainder of the season with Andy Lonergan as a backup.
Lonergan, who joined the Whites in January was also asked to find a different club on Heckingbottom’s arrival and is currently unavailable for selection while the youngster, Bailey Peacock-Farrell still needs to undergo further development.
Quite a few Leeds fans will agree on Wiedwald’s case for dismissal after witnessing him drop the ball on multiple occasions this season. He turned in another poor performance at Middlesbrough on last week as Leeds went down 3-0 at the Riverside to virtually end their slim playoff hopes.
This came after the German was guilty of a number of high-profile errors of late, such as his drop from a cross which allowed Bristol City to open the scoring at Elland Road in last month’s 2-2 draw.
After a season of 12 clean sheets under his name, one would think that to be a decent tally for a 13th spot team but the Leeds faithful do not think so. The shot-stopper’s confidence is shot out and it would be wise for Heckingbottom to start making moves towards a quality replacement.
Here are a few candidates the United boss should consider.
The Burnley man has been a revelation this season by showcasing his set of skills in between the sticks. Tom Heaton’s injury came with silver lining and Pope was exactly that.
Every Burnley fan will agree that Pope is deserved of a first-team spot after the performances he has put up this season. However, it will be hard to bench Heaton who is the club captain and is a long-serving favourite of Sean Dyche.
If unsettlement issues do arise after this season, Leeds can provide him with an escape.
Everton keeper and the 3rd choice behind Jordan Pickford and Martin Stekelenburg, has already confirmed his wishes to quit the Premier League outfit as soon as an offer comes in. He is not happy with the current role he has with the Toffees and is set to leave after his contract runs out in the summer.
He currently is serving a loan spell away from Newcastle United with Scottish Premiership outfit, Aberdeen and is looking mighty impressive. He is an ambitious youngster who wants to prove himself on the pitch regularly. If the Magpies end up making, Martin Dubravka’s move permanent after this season, maybe Woodman can find a home in Elland Road.