Alioski has blown hot and cold since arriving at Elland Road in the summer. On his day, he has looked like the kind of player who is going to inspire the Whites towards the promotion picture, but he came in for a lot of criticism for his display in the loss to the Blades.
The Macedonia international struggled to get into the game and Heckingbottom's decision to leave him on the bench for the home clash against Bristol City earlier in the month was generally supported by the fans.
And given his form since he returned to the side, it appears that that decision was actually a brilliant one as Alioski has quickly executed a sharp turnaround in form that could prove crucial in the final months of the season if he maintains his current levels.
Not only was Alioski left on the bench against the Robins, but he also had to watch Kemar Roofe and Hadi Sacko brought on as substitutes ahead of him - and that may have perhaps sent a message to the 26-year-old that he can expect to spend long spells on the sidelines if he does not take his chances when they come his way.
Alioski was once again left out of the starting lineup against Derby County last week but he got the chance to make a late impact as he was brought on for Pablo Hernandez. And he definitely made an impact at Pride Park.
It was the winger who capitalised on Samuel Saiz's blistering counter attack in the 79th minute. The Spaniard played Alioski in and, after having his initial shot saved, the wide-man reacted quickly to head the rebound home. Despite Saiz doing most of the hard yards, Alioski still had a lot to do when the ball was played across to him and he ultimately managed to take advantage of the opportunity.
And he provided another indication that his dropping from the side will prove an inspired move as it was his free-kick that allowed Liam Cooper to score the winning goal when Brentford visited Elland Road on Saturday.
If Heckingbottom can get the best out of the squad he has from now until the end of the season, Leeds' play-off hopes may not be as slim as many may have predicted before the weekend. And it appears that Alioski is now ready to rediscover his best form - so perhaps dropping him from the team, albeit briefly, could be deemed the catalyst that the summer signing has needed.
Have something to tell us about this article?