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Michael Gray comments on Leeds head coach Paul Heckingbottom

Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Millwall and Barnsley at The Den on January 6, 2018 in London, England.

Michael Gray fears for Leeds United boss Paul Heckingbottom due to his Barnsley affiliation.

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.

Michael Gray has suggested on talkSPORT that Barnsley-born Paul Heckingbottom could incur the wrath of Leeds United fans a lot quicker as a result of his background.

The 40-year-old already has a job on his hands to win over some Leeds supporters after leading the Whites to just one victory from seven Championship games since swapping Oakwell for Elland Road last month.

Back-to-back 3-0 drubbings by Middlesbrough and Wolves have done little to help Heckingbottom's cause and anything less than a very strong end to the season will prompt concern over whether he is the right man to lead the Whites' Premier League promotion bid next season.

Not only was he born in Barnsley, but Heckingbottom also played for and managed Leeds' Yorkshire rivals in a fact which Gray - who played with him at Sunderland - believes puts his former team-mate at a disadvantage.

Gray, who played for the Elland Road side, told Jim White's program on talkSPORT, broadcast on March 13: "You’re going into a club like Leeds. I was a team-mate of Paul’s so I know him really well.

Manager of Barnsley FC, Paul Heckingbottom celebrates after winning the the Sky Bet League One Play Off Final against Millwall at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2016 in London, England.

“He’s done a great job at Barnsley, working with a very small budget, but this is a huge step up for Paul. Massive football club.

“I hope he’s up for it. What might go against him is that when he’s losing games is his background. He’s a Barnsley lad. So when he starts losing games they’ll be on his back, absolutely. Only time is going to tell."

Leeds host Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday in another Yorkshire derby which Heckingbottom really can't afford to lose; not because of the implications it would have on the Whites' promotion bid, which is effectively in tatters anyway, but because another defeat would surely indicate that the players aren't responding to his methods.

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