Heckingbottom has Swedish side to thank for one upside of Leeds spell

Paul Heckingbottom Leeds manager gestures during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Leeds United at iPro Stadium on February 21, 2018 in Derby, England.

Leeds United goalkeeper Bailey-Peacock Farrell almost left the club during the January transfer window.

Paul Heckingbottom Leeds manager gestures during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Leeds United at iPro Stadium on February 21, 2018 in Derby, England.

While it would be crazy to suggest that Paul Heckingbottom's spell at Leeds deserves to be judged already, there is no getting away from the fact that the former Barnsley boss has endured a difficult time since arriving at Elland Road.

Heckingbottom appears to have the desire to make big changes and the kind of brave decisions that Thomas Christiansen seemed reluctant to make at times, but there has only been one victory so far and the Whites' play-off hopes now appear to have been dashed with nine games to go.

Felix Weidwald of Leeds United gestures during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Leeds United at iPro Stadium on February 21, 2018 in Derby, England.

Unfortunately, the side have not enjoyed a significant boost following the change of head coach and the glaring issues appear to remain - though it would arguably be unfair to criticise the new boss too harshly until he has had more time and a summer window to really start shaping the squad. 

But while the gloom has not exactly lifted at Elland Road, there has been one significant upside to have emerged from Heckingbottom's tenure, and that is the form of Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

A general view of Elland Road Stadium prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Elland Road on October 17, 2015 in Leeds, England.

The 21-year-old goalkeeper came in for only his second first-team appearance in the wake of Felix Wiedwald's disappointing display at Middlesbrough. And while the youngster has had to pick the ball out of the back of his net five times in two games, the general consensus has been that the results against Wolves and Reading would have been a lot worse if it was not for him. 

Peacock-Farrell's form has certainly given the fans reason for optimism at a period of the season when the campaign is threatening to fizzle out as it so often did before the side very much flirted with the top six last season. But Heckingbottom could have potentially been denied that one positive had a club from Sweden's second tier made a different decision in January.

It is not clear what the terms of a potential deal would have been, but Landskrona BoIS took the young goalkeeper on trial at the start of the year before, as reported by the club's website, ultimately deciding against offering what would have presumably been a loan deal - though it must be noted that their domestic season does not begin until April.

There are some extremely talented young goalkeepers coming through at Thorp Arch, so had Heckingbottom arrived at the club and Peacock-Farrell not been available, then he would have certainly had other options. But Heckingbottom and Peacock-Farrell may now be delighted that nothing came of the starlet's trial in Sweden given how he has begun this latest spell in the side. 

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