Should Leeds rescue this international striker by offering Milanic reunion?

Elland Road pitchside

Leeds manager Darko Milanic worked with Cardiff City striker Etien Velikonja during two stints in Slovenia - could he rescue him from his South Wales hell?

Leeds United finally appointed their new manager last week, almost a month after sacking Dave Hockaday. Owner Massimo Cellino decided to take another risk, handing Sturm Graz manager Darko Milanic the job last week despite the Slovenian having no experience outside his homeland and Austria.

Milanic, 46, lost his first game in charge as his Leeds side went down to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Brentford on Saturday, which was disappointing given the three wins in four games racked up by caretaker boss Neil Redfearn. Milanic's credentials in the Championship may not be up to much, but in Slovenia, he enjoyed plenty of success.

Having won the Slovenian Championship four times, the Slovenian Cup three times and the Slovenian Super Cup twice, Milanic's best spell as a manager was clearly with Maribor. He joined them in 2008 from Gorica, but he eventually had a familiar face with him at Ljudski vrt.

Striker Etien Velikonja came through the ranks at Gorica, and whilst he had played sporadically for them as a teenager, it was when Milanic arrived as manager in 2008 when he started to blossom. He featured in 31 games in Milanic's only season at Gorica, and whilst he only scored five goals, that wasn't enough to put Milanic off as the duo reunited at Maribor in 2011 following 34 goals in two-and-a-half seasons.

Whilst back with Milanic, Velikonja hit 28 goals in 64 games, which earned him his controversial move to English football with Cardiff City. The Bluebirds paid around €2m to land Velikonja in 2012, but after just four appearances in 18 months, it was revealed that Velikonja was signed against the wishes of then-manager Malky Mackay, and was a deal driven by owner Vincent Tan and agent Jorge Mendes.

Since then, Velikonja has spent time out on loan at Portuguese side Rio Ave, but has once again been left kicking his heels this season after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought a whole host of strikers to the Cardiff City Stadium. The 25-year-old clearly has no future in South Wales, and with his career being wasted, he needs to be saved from his Cardiff hell.

And who better to rescue him than Milanic? The duo have proven to be a dangerous manager-player combination in the past, and it's hardly like Leeds are blessed with striking options; Noel Hunt and Steve Morison, two players that fans have been heavily critical of in recent times, have combined for just three goals in 36 games for the club collectively, though Mirko Antenucci, Souleymane Doukara and Billy Sharp have made decent starts to life at Elland Road.

Velikonja can play up alongside a centre forward or even behind the strikers in the diamond formation that Leeds have used so often this season, and his familiarity with Milanic's methods would serve him in good stead if Leeds come calling - which, given his success under Milanic and his nightmare spell at Cardiff, wouldn't be a huge surprise.

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